The Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Central University (MGCU) in Bihar, Arvind Agrawal, is learnt to have quit the post amid allegations of falsifying his academic records, The Indian Express has learnt.
According to sources, Agrawal dropped by at the HRD Ministry on October 26 and submitted his resignation. He has requested the government to relieve him of his responsibilities by mid-November.
The development came within weeks of the HRD Ministry seeking the V-C’s comments on allegations of fudging information about his PhD degree and academic performance at the undergraduate level. Government sources were tight-lipped about whether the resignation has been forwarded to the President, who is the Visitor of all central universities.
When contacted by this newspaper on Monday, Agrawal denied quitting the post. He said the ministry had sought his response on charges of falsification of academic records and he had done so about two months ago.
Agrawal was appointed as MGCU’s first V-C by the incumbent government in February 2016 from a panel of three names submitted by the search-cum-selection committee headed by Harish Chandra Rathore, head of Central University of South Bihar. Agrawal has close to two-and-a-half years left in his term.
He is the ninth central university head to come under the scanner ever since the NDA-II government took charge. The HRD Ministry has fired V-Cs of Visva Bharati University, Pondicherry University and Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University for academic, administrative and financial irregularities. Inquiries were initiated against heads of Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, IGNOU, Tripura University and Allahabad University, but were either closed on put on the backburner.
Agrawal’s stint as MGCU’s V-C was tumultuous this year. The university was on the boil recently and was closed sine dine in August after an attack on an assistant professor shortly after he shared a Facebook post that was critical of former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee. The teacher, in his police complaint, had alleged that the attackers had asked him why he had been speaking up against the V-C and a few others. The university reopened after two weeks.
Earlier, the V-C and teachers were locked in a stand-off since May with a section of teachers staging a dharna in protest against the university administration’s decisions on reservation and appointment of faculty.
The teachers had also accused Agrawal of lying about his academic qualifications. In a complaint filed with the government, they had alleged that the V-C had lied in his application as he had not got his PhD degree from a university in Germany, but from the University of Rajasthan. The HRD Ministry had also received complaints that he had lied about graduating with first class distinction at the undergraduate level.
According to sources, the ministry, prima facie, had found the allegations to be correct. However, Agrawal put in his papers before the government could decide its next course of action.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Monday, Rathore said that the search-cum-selection committee had shortlisted three candidates for the post of MGCU V-C based on the bio data provided by the HRD Ministry. Verification of academic credentials of applicants is not the remit of the selection panel, he said. Moreover, he added, the final selection from the panel of three names was done by the government.