Agriculture university VC redefines nepotism
December 05, 2012
By Sanjeev Devasia
The state government has ordered an inquiry after it emerged that the vice-chancellor (VC) of Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, an agricultural university in Rahuri, conducted an exam for the post of junior research assistants (JRA) where relatives of his own staff passed with flying colours and were appointed.
In what could be a blatant case of nepotism, the son of the deputy registrar and the wife of a technical officer of the university were appointed to the post by the VC TA More. According to officials from the agricultural department, question papers for the exam were set by professors, whose children also sat the exam, in violation of rules.
The appointments which were completed at a lightning speed surprised the officials.Appointment letters were sent from the university in Ahmednagar on September 2 and thecandidates, some of whom were from Dhule, reached the university within two hours to report for work.
The state ministry of agriculture has stayed the exam and recruitment process. Minister of agriculture Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil ordered for an enquiry to be conducted by Maruti Sawant, the director general of the Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Extension and Research (MCAER) into the whole issue.
The matter was uncovered after an anonymous complaint was sent to the minister.
This was seconded by a preliminary inquiry report by the MCAER which recommended the scrapping of the exam process.
Later the registrar of the university Bhanudas Palwe submitted a report on the appointment of 36 JRAs by the VC despite a stay on the process by the agriculture department.
The exam, which was conducted from February 22 to 24,was supposed to be conducted for 200 marks. The VC, however, chose to conduct it for 100 marks.
Interestingly, the son of the deputy registrar, who topped the recruitment exam, had completed his three-year BSc degree in seven years. The wife of the technical officer also topped the exam in another subject.
More said that the exam was conducted as per procedure. “What’s wrong if some children of the staff appear for the exam? Nobody has been able to prove any wrong doing. These allegations are being levelled by a select few who have vested interests. They include the registrar and the minister’s personal staff. Around 18 to 20 persons were recruited in a similar manner earlier. I have written permission for carrying out the appointment process from the minister.”
Following complaints, the agriculture department had stayed the proceedings. Officials from the department said that the VC pleaded his case with the minister and sought to get the stay lifted. The minister then made a few remarks in the letter written by the VC. On the basis of this letter, the VC went ahead and appointed those who passed the exams.
However, when this came to knowledge of the minister, he ordered an enquiry and has withheld the salaries of the staff, who were recruited.