Officials, Syndicate members claim T. Leo Alexander was wrongly indicted by Subburaj panel

The probe into examination malpractices at the University of Madras may soon conclude and those guilty, identified.

A committee headed by retired IAS officer K. Aludiapillai, and comprising two retired judges that began its investigation a month back is conducting day-long enquiries against those indicted by two committees that probed the malpractices, including tampering of mark cards of BE/ B. Tech and distance education students.

“The results are expected soon and the University will take action against those found guilty,” said University of Madras vice-chancellor G. Thiruvasagam.

Caught in the centre of the controversy is T. Leo Alexander, former registrar-in-charge who was implicated in the report of the K. Subburaj committee. Mr. Alexander had quit after his name appeared in the report, following which the post of registrar has been lying vacant. A section of university professors have alleged that Mr. Alexander was being targeted because, “many senior Syndicate members are opposed to the idea of a college teacher handling the registrar’s post. This is why no college teacher has been able to finish his term as registrar in many years,” a senior Senate member said. Mr. Alexander, also Controller of Examinations, is in the fray for the registrar’s post, interviews for which were conducted recently.

A section of the University also considers Mr. Alexander a whistle-blower in the exam scam. Officials in the data entry department recall that when the results of the April 2011 exams were handed over to the Controller (Mr. Alexander), he found that all 20 students (each having to clear nearly 8-15 papers) had passed in every paper; however, most of their answer sheets were blank. In a letter to the V-C, Mr. Alexander sought an investigation. The V-C ordered a revaluation, after which it was found that only one of the 20 candidates had cleared all the papers.

After this, a committee formed under Prof. S. Karunanidhi indicted 30 persons, but later another panel headed by K. Subburaj named 21 more, including Mr. Alexander.

The V-C maintains that Mr. Alexander had said he was quitting as registrar-in-charge for personal reasons and to concentrate on his work as exam controller. Sources said he did not quit on his own but was pressured by senior Syndicate members to do so. Syndicate members say there was pressure on Mr. Alexander to resign even earlier. “In a meeting in July, a senior professor asked why the controller of exams was also holding the registrar’s post. The issue was not even on the agenda but many members supported the contention, after which the V-C had asked Mr. Alexander to step down and appointed a senior professor of statistics department as registrar-in charge,” sources say.

However, the appointment could not be given effect to as the higher education department wrote to the University in November 2011 pointing out that there was no Syndicate decision on relieving Mr. Alexander from his post. Nor could it be done without informing the government.

Some Syndicate members also wonder if the appointment of each of the three members of the Subburaj committee had the Syndicate’s approval. A December 18, 2011 Syndicate resolution, accepting the Karunanidhi panel report, called for action against eight people under 17 (b) and 22 persons under 17 (a) of the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules. It authorised the V-C to engage a retired officer from the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department to ‘draft charge memos and other work related to the inquiry.’ “The Subburaj committee, which should have only drafted charge memos, went beyond this and indicted more people. Strangely, the committee’s appointment was ratified the same day on which its report was placed,” says a Syndicate member.

The V-C however, said the Subburaj committee report was accepted by the Syndicate. “All major decisions have been approved by the Syndicate. There could have been differing views in the discussions but there was no dissent,” he added.


Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

More In: Chennai