The battle between Pondicherry University vice-chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy and the HRD Ministry witnessed a dramatic twist this week as the V-C quit her post, a month after she sent a detailed rebuttal to the government rejecting all charges against her.
The Indian Express had reported on November 22, 2014 that Krishnamurthy plagiarised most of one book mentioned in her CV, which also listed two other books that may have never been published at all.
She was served a show-cause notice by the President on August 21, 2015, after a probe launched by the University Grants Commission (UGC) found her guilty of serious academic frauds, including holding a fake D.Litt degree. She had replied to the President’s notice only in April this year.
According to sources, Krishnamurthy sent her resignation to the President’s office, which forwarded the letter to the HRD Ministry on Monday. The government is yet to take a call on whether it should accept the resignation. “We have received it and the resignation is currently being examined by us,” said a senior ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
Krishnamurthy, who is currently on forced leave, was appointed as the university’s first woman head by the UPA government in February 2013 and has a little less than two years left in her tenure. The Indian Express could not reach her for a comment.
The government, sources said, is in two minds about accepting her resignation, especially after the precedent set by the sacking of Visva-Bharati V-C Sushanta Dattagupta. Dattagupta, who was accused of financial and administrative irregularities, had also quit in anticipation of his removal, but the ministry did not accept it and sacked him in February this year. His removal was the first sacking of a central university head in the country’s history.
Krishnamurthy’s future has been uncertain since early last year after the UGC instituted an inquiry following an indefinite agitation by a section of students and teachers that left the institutions paralysed. The students and faculty were seeking her ouster for alleged autocratic behaviour and mismanagement of university affairs.
On October 23, 2015, The Indian Express reported that the probe — led by former V-C of Punjab University Jai Rup Singh, former bureaucrat Nita Chowdhury and ex-director of Indian Law Institute K N Chandrasekharan Pillai — had found that Krishnamurthy authored only one book against the claim of three in her CV. It also found that she lied about guiding nine PhD students and receiving four research projects. The V-C claimed to have written 25 articles in her CV, but the probe could trace only one, which was also plagiarised.