Panel to probe charge against VTU V-C

Panel to probe charge against VTU V-C

Governor H R Bhardwaj on Tuesday appointed a commission headed by Justice Abhay Gohil, a retired judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court, to inquire into the allegation levelled against H Maheshappa, vice-chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University, that he made false claims about his academic credentials to get the post.

Justice Gohil was also former chairman of the Appellate Authority of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, New Delhi. He has been given three months time to conduct the probe and submit the report to the governor, who is also the chancellor of varsities in the State. The university will have to help the judge to probe the case.

The commission, which will function in Bangalore, has also been given the task of suggesting the steps to be taken while selecting vice chancellor to VTU to ensure that ‘such things’ (meaning cases like the Maheshappa appointment) do not recur, said the notification issued by Raj Bhavan.

A public interest litigation was filed in the Karnataka High Court alleging that Maheshappa made a false claim of having secured a first class in BE course while he had only a second class. He was appointed for the post for a period of three years from July 2, 2010.

The High Court, while disposing of the petition on January 13, observed that the senior counsel appearing for the chancellor had stated that the chancellor is quite willing to consider the matter (appointment) once again, in view of the interpretations of the relevant regulations.

The court had also stated that the proceedings before the court will not be relevant for the chancellor to arrive at a fresh decision as to whether Maheshappa has obtained first or second class. The notification issued by the chancellor said that in view of the nature of the allegations and the gravity of issues, it is necessary to get the matter inquired into before arriving at an appropriate decision. The Commission shall submit its findings on the inquiry into the allegations along with recommendation on the action to be taken.

Maheshappa has 25 marks statements from the ten exams he appeared to complete the five-year semester course in engineering, indicating that he had failed in seven semesters of the 10 he studied through to get a degree in mechanical engineering course. A student of the Government BDT College of Engineering, Davangere affiliated to University of Mysore, Maheshappa obtained a post-graduate degree and doctorate from Bangalore University, where it was not mandatory to submit a degree certificate while seeking entry to a post-graduate course or a doctoral programme.

The VC had argued before the court that he had taken the aggregate of the last two semesters to prove that he had secured first class. But the two semesters were not cleared at one go. He had failed in some papers. The university goes by the marks scored by a student in the first attempt and not in the later attempts made to pass. He also facing the allegations of falsely claiming that he had guided PhD students, while the records show that no student obtained a doctoral degree under his guidance. It is not mandatory for a VC to have a first class degree to become a VC.

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