Governor H R Bhardwaj, who is also Chancellor of Karnataka’s universities, cited personal differences between two academics to deny one of them the post of vice-chancellor.
Factors that went in favour of the appointment of H Maheshappa as vice-chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, are coming to light as his term comes to a close. A search committee will soon be formed to look for a successor to Maheshappa.
In an official letter attached to the report of the Justice Abhay Gohil inquiry commission, Bhardwaj explained why he had appointed Maheshappa. A copy of the report is available with Express.
He says: “This university has had a history of rivalry between former vice-chancellors Balaveera Reddy and Prof Kincha, leading to litigation. So Prof Kincha was not given a second term and thus, his (Maheshappa’s) appointment is based on merit.”
Bhardwaj also says Maheshappa strove to build the reputation of the VTU. His note states: “In view of the hard work done by Maheshappa, the University has improved quite a lot during last more than two years. The report of the commission explains the situation and I respectfully agree with the same.”
Experts say Bhardwaj’s reason to reject Prof Kincha, who was in the running for a second term, is unethical.
Dr Balaveera Reddy, former vice chancellor of VTU whose name Bhardwaj mentions, said, “He has used the word ‘rivalry,’ which I oppose strongly. Prof Kincha and I are good friends even today. We have differences over the authorship of a book, but we have no rivalry or personal disputes.”
Dr Balaveera Reddy and Prof Kincha have both staked a claim to the authorship of a book titled Computer Aided Design. “The matter is in court, but apart from that, they have no issues at all,” said a senior professor at VTU.
Reddy said, “I had designed a book with some professors when I was the vice-chancellor and my contention is that Prof Kincha removed my name and put his name instead. I don’t know what sort of rivalry the Governor found in this.”
Prof Kincha said “There is no rivalry between us.”
On June 30, 2010, a search committee submitted a list of three probables for the post of vice-chancellor.
The first name was Prof H P Kincha, being considered for a second term. His name was followed by those of Prof H Maheshappa and Dr Sayeed Shakib-ur-Rehman.
Governor Bhardwaj issued an order on July 1, 2010, appointing Maheshappa for the post. On completion of the term in 2013, he extended it by a year to June 2014.
Raj Bhavan has issued an order to constitute the search committee and is waiting for VTU and government nominees, a source said.
H Maheshappa faces serious charges of misleading the government by claiming he had passed his engineering degree in first class when the records said it was second. An inquiry committee constituted by Governor Bhardwaj placed the blame at the door of Mysore University, leaving academics shocked. The committee cited a rule made in 2000 to rule on a 1983 question.