BANGALORE: A committee formed to select a new vice-chancellor for Visvesvaraya Technological University includes controversial members, one of whom allegedly sold an antique aircraft gifted to his college.
Academics, including those aspiring for the post, say they have little faith in the just-constituted committee.
S S Mantha, a search committee member, received an honorary doctorate from the university last year, and academics are afraid that could make him beholden to Vice-Chancellor Dr H Maheshappa.
Another member, D H Rao, has served on an earlier search panel, which submitted a ‘flawed’ probables list.
A third member, Prof V D Maitri, faces a criminal case pending before the Supreme Court. He is a former principal of PDA Engineering College in Gulbarga.
S K Kantha, who filed the case during his tenure as higher education minister, told Express, “It is a serious case. He sold an antique plane gifted to the college.”
The state government handed over the case to the CoD, which filed a chargesheet. “The High Court gave him a clean chit. But I approached the Supreme Court, which has granted a stay on the High Court order,” he said.
Given the circumstances, Kantha said, it was not proper to have Maitri on such a committee. “I will communicate this to the governor and chief minister,” he said.
Prof Balaveera Reddy, former vice-chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University, is shocked by the composition of the search committee. “This committee must be revisited,” he told Express.
Mantha, nominee of the state government, received an honorary doctorate in 2013.
“The present vice-chancellor, who awarded the doctorate, is a frontrunner for the post. When such is the case, how can Mantha be involved in the selection process?” Reddy said.
Another aspirant and principal of a top engineering college in Mysore said, “I had recently met the chief minister and higher education minister and was shocked to hear Dr Maheshappa might get a second term.”
Siddaramaiah reportedly said he could not intervene in VTU appointments as they were the governor’s prerogative.
Second term for Maheshappa?
Dr H Maheshappa, the current vice-chancellor of VTU, is likely to get a second term, according to sources. “He was already in line for a second term when his first ended in 2013, but the search committee controversially submitted four names instead of three. This prompted the Governor to give Dr Maheshappa a year-long extension instead,” said a source.
Why Panel is Suspect
■ Senate nominee V D Maitri faces a criminal case for selling an antique plane
■ Executive Council nominee D H Rao was on the 2013 search committee which submitted a ‘flawed’ report
■ Last year, state government nominee S S Mantha was conferred an honorary doctorate by Dr H Maheshappa, current vice-chancellor keen on a second term