President Ram Nath Kovind is learnt to have accepted the resignation of Mahatma Gandhi Central University (MGCU) Vice-Chancellor Arvind Kumar Agrawal this week.
As first reported by The Indian Expres, Agrawal submitted his resignation to the government, in person, on October 26, amid allegations of falsifying his academic records. It’s not clear if Agrawal stands relieved of his responsibilities immediately or, as requested by him, on November 15.
According to sources, the V-C explained his position to the HRD Ministry in the last week of October over the allegations against him of fudging information about his PhD degree and academic performance at the undergraduate level. Since the preliminary findings of the inquiry had made the V-C’s position untenable, he handed over his resignation on October 26, but requested the HRD Ministry to process it only on November 3.
Immediately upon his return to Motihari, Agrawal appointed a new pro-VC Anil Kumar Rai and has been on leave since October 31. Rai has been officiating as the university head in his absence.
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 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 or 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 assistant professor was attacked shortly after he shared a Facebook post 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 about his PhD degree being from a German university, which indeed is 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.