“Outgoing” Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Central University (MGCU), Motihari Arvind Kumar Agrawal, had requested the university’s highest decision-making organisation, the executive council (EC), to allow him to “dispose of confidential documents related to recruitment” in September 2017, it is learnt.
The Indian Express has accessed proceeding of the executive council’s agenda – EC (2017) 07:05, dated September 26, 2017 – in which Agrawal sought the council’s permission, stating that there’s an “acute shortage of space” to store documents.
The request had to be withdrawn after the 10-member EC rejected it, stating that no university document can be destroyed.
As per established rules for central universities, any document can be destroyed only after five years – and only after it is turned into a digital format, and allowed by competent authorities.
Agrawal submitted his resignation to the government on October 26 amid allegations of falsifying his academic records. He also faces allegations of favouring some teachers in giving additional increment and promotion.
MGCU Teachers’ Association president Pramod Meena told The Indian Express that Agrawal may have attempted to seek permission to “destroy important recruitment papers in the name of its disposal” since he faces scrutiny for several decisions, including recruitment made during his tenure by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
Meena said they still fear that Agrawal’s supporters in MGCU may temper with documents related to recruitment, or even misplace them. “We request the MHRD to ensure digitisation of all documents to prepare back-up. Since Agrawal is facing probe, it is all the more important to ensure it as a matter of urgency.”
While Agrawal has stopped coming to the campus, he reports at the university’s administrative office.
Another teacher, Shashikant Ray, whose RTI application, filed in July, had revealed that Agrawal received his PhD from Rajasthan University, and not Heidelberg, Germany, as he had claimed in his application, said, “I suspect documents relating to my termination on September 26, 2017 EC meeting, and subsequent reinstatement on October 10, can also be tampered with. I had sought to know how I can be terminated without being issued a showcause notice.”
Proceeding of the EC’s agenda of that September meeting notes Agrawal asking the council: “The Mahatma Gandhi Central University is a new university and in nascent stage…. There is an acute shortage of space because of which the university runs in two shifts. Due to lack of space in the temporary campus, the university is not even in a position to provide adequate sitting space to the faculty heads, deans and visitors. The library too has been adding books and titles to meet increasing demands…hence, the university finds it difficult to store used and unused hard copies of question booklets, OMR sheets and other documents related to recruitment.”
The V-C stated, according to the minutes, “To manage its limited space, time and again the university has to shift its personnel and moveable infrastructure from one building site to another…. Therefore, the matter regarding disposal of confidential documents related to recruitment is placed before Executive Council for consideration and decision.”
The proceeding shows that “the item was withdrawn”.
Agrawal did not respond to text messages and was not available for a comment.
Executive council member Narendra Pratap Singh told The Indian Express, “We turned down his proposal. University documents of any kind are important and cannot allowed to be destroyed.”
Another EC member, Karmatma Pande, asked, “How can any university document be allowed to be destroyed? What if there is a need to probe any matter?”
Under university rules, any document relating to recruitment can be disposed of after five years “subject to a suitable entry being made in the appropriate service record and an authenticated copy of the order being kept in Volume II of the service book/ personal file”. The MGCU has been running since October 3, 2016.