Minister overrules dept decision, favours colleague's man at KSOU

Minister overrules dept decision, favours colleague's man at KSOU

Minister overrules dept decision, favours colleague's man at KSOU

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande has overruled his own department’s decision to appoint a finance officer to the Karnataka State Open University.

This, owing to the “interference” of his cabinet colleague V Sreenivas Prasad. The move, however, could have serious ramifications on KSOU’s financial management.

Deshpande has endorsed Revenue and Mysore district in-charge Minister Sreenivas Prasad’s recommendation to cancel the appointment of State Accounts department officer, Qadar Pasha, as Finance Officer (FO) of KSOU and
continue the services of Prasad’s relative Prof Rajashekaraiah as FO.

Rajashekaraiah is a Kannada professor at the varsity and has no qualification whatsoever to head the department, which handles a budget of Rs 50 crore to 60 crore annually.

The FO should be well versed in the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Finance code, PWD code, Accounts code and budgeting.

The Higher Education department had appointed Pasha as FO, KSOU, on June 24. The cancellation order of his appointment from Deshpande’s office came on July 5.

Rajashekaraiah, was made FO in 2013, despite the government having appointed another regular FO (Sangeetha Gajanan Bhat) on July 23, 2013. According to sources in KSOU, Bhat was “disallowed” from reporting to duty at the varsity, as Prasad had intervened on behalf of Rajashekaraiah last year too.

Following the voluntary resignation of a regular FO in 2011, the KSOU has appointed only linguistic and political science professors as FO. It first appointed Sanskrit professor Dr Radhakrishna, followed by Political Science professor T D Deve Gowda, Urdu professor Jahanara Begum and Rajashekaraiah.

All these appointments were made when the said professors were on the verge of their retirement.

‘In a fix’

When contacted, M G Krishnan, V-C, KSOU, said that it was a government decision and he had no say in the matter.

“The government should appoint an FO in consultation with the chancellor and the V-C of the university. The appointment of Rajashekaraiah has been endorsed by the government.

Although I don’t agree with this decision, I am in a fix, and I cannot take a decision in this matter. In case I resist, it has to be for a genuine reason.

In this case, I will unnecessarily be going against the government,” he said.

M S Thimmappa, former V-C of Bangalore University, said that without regular FOs, there was room for financial irregularities.

“It is illegal to have anybody else who is not technically trained in the matters of finance to be appointed to the post. One should strictly adhere to the statutes of the university, as it involves large amounts of money of the students. It is an unfair practice to appoint anyone without any background of the subject matter.”

Prof N R Shetty, another former V-C of Bangalore University, said that without experts at the helm of affairs of the financial wing of an institution, there would be no balance of accounts.

“This is a crucial matter as the officer will be responsible for the financial health of the university. Appointing a Kannada professor to the post will only make a mess of the affairs. He will be clueless about the funding of the varsity.

The Higher Education minister should not allow such practices,” he added.

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