K Kasturirangan, former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has backed the Human Resource Development Ministry’s (HRD) decision to replace him in the selection panel to find the next vice-chancellor (VC) of Delhi University (DU).
Last week, the government had objected to Kasturirangan’s nomination to the search-cum-selection committee on the grounds that he is an honourary professor at DU and this could amount to a conflict of interest.
As first reported by The Indian Express on October 8, the HRD Ministry was miffed with incumbent vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh over nominating Kasturirangan to the search-cum-selection committee.
In a letter addressed to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, a copy of which has been reviewed by The Indian Express, the former ISRO chief has expressed his support on the HRD’s decision to replace him, saying it is the “right” one.
“Unfortunately, I noted through the communication from MHRD dt. (sic) 30th September 2015 that persons nominated by the Council shall not be connected with the university or a recognised college or institution, for the first time. Even though I immediately contacted Delhi University to clarify this matter, not to take any chance, I decided to bring to the notice of MHRD directly… I am relieved that the MHRD under your guidance has taken the right decision to look for an alternate name,” Kasturirangan said in the letter.
The letter was written on October 12, just a day before an emergency meeting of the university’s executive council was convened at the direction of President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Visitor of all central universities.
DU authorities have now nominated former UPSC chairman D P Agarwal to replace Kasturirangan.
The ministry had earlier urged Mukherjee to send Singh — who is scheduled to retire on October 28 — on forced leave, alleging that he was trying to derail the selection of his successor by nominating an honourary professor of the university to the panel.
The President however, asked the varsity to convene a meeting of the executive council instead to nominate a