Registrar's post: V-C beats a retreat

Fearing he may not be able to have his way, Prabhu Dev drops idea of replacing incumbent

  The Vice Chancellor, N Prabhu Dev, had recently approached the Department of Higher Education seeking a new registrar, following his dissatisfaction with the incumbent, R M Ranganath.

A cold war had ensued between Dev and Ranganath over certain matters. Besides, the V-C raised the issue of Ranganath’s age.

Dev reportedly argued that Ranganath (61) should not continue in the post as, according to the rules, an administrative officer of the university ought to retire when he/she turns 60. Ironically, when Ranganath was appointed on May 24, 2010, he had already crossed the age limit. Still, the V-C had recommended his name then.

As soon as Dev sought a replacement, many senior professors jumped into the fray and began lobbying for it using their political clout. But Dev wanted an IAS officer deputed for the job. Much to the V-C’s chagrin, Chikkamelurappa, Chairperson of Department of Sociology and one of his bitter critics, is a prime contender for the post.

Chikkamelurappa has considerable political clout and is said to be close to the Minister for Higher Education, V S Acharya.

Misappropriation charges

The professor of Sociology faced charges of misappropriation of funds when he headed BU’s Directorate of Correspondence Courses and Distance Education. The matter subsequently went to the Supreme Court which cleared him.

Chikkamelurappa says he wants to forget the past and have a good relationship with Dev. “I will accept the post, if it’s offered to me, only with the consent of the V-C,” he told Deccan Herald, claiming he was not lobbying for the post and would never use his political clout. Seethamma K K, professor of Economics, is also believed to be in the fray.
Although her name has been recommended by two prominent MLAs from her home district, Kodagu, she insists that she is “not doing anything to get the post.”

Other contenders are Ningegowda K N, professor of Apparel Technology and
Management, and Somashekar R K, Chairperson, Department of Environmental Sciences.
A professor with an experience of five years teaching postgraduate classes can become the registrar. But other factors such as experience and caste, not to speak of political clout, play a big role in the appointment.

Highly placed sources said that all aspirants were lobbying with the chief minister, with whom the final discretion rests.

Earlier, only IAS or KAS officers could become the registrar. The rule, however, was changed in 2009, paving the way for senior professors to bag the post.

Intense lobbying

Given the intense lobbying, Dev is playing the cards close to his chest. Well-placed sources indicated that he might have shelved the idea, fearing his adversaries would get the post. Hence, he would want Ranganath to continue.

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