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VC’s post for Prabhudeva may kick up a row

A.N. Prabhudeva

A.N. Prabhudeva   | Photo Credit: — Photo: KPN

Laiqh A Khan

He is understood to have the blessings of the CM’s office



He is one of the three short-listed for the post

He had sought retirement from Jayadeva institute



BANGALORE: The likely appointment of A.N. Prabhudeva, former Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, Bangalore, as the next Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University is expected to kick up a storm in academic circles.

The emergence of Dr. Prabhudeva as the front-runner in the race for the coveted post has left experts in the field of education bitter over the possibility of a medical practitioner heading Bangalore University, which has no medical colleges under its jurisdiction.

Charges

Charges of financial irregularities that Dr. Prabhudeva faced a couple of years ago are also tumbling out as the proverbial skeletons in the cupboard, although his supporters have denied them.

Dr. Prabhudeva is one of the three persons recommended by the search committee headed by the former Vice-Chancellor of Mangalore University M.I. Savadatti to the Government recently.

Two other candidates short-listed for the post are Byrappa, professor of Geology of the University of Mysore, and Abdul Rahman of Kuvempu University.

Caste factor

Caste factor, which plays a role in major appointments, has its bearing in this case also, with Dr. Prabhudeva hailing from the dominant Lingayat community.

Dr. Prabhudeva, who is believed to have failed to make it to the post of Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences a couple of months ago, is understood to have the blessings of the Chief Minister’s office and is clearly in “striking distance” of securing the top post in Bangalore University.

A former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University told The Hindu that Dr. Prabhudeva’s appointment would amount to denying the post to hundreds of deserving aspirants from the general education stream.

Vocal

The former Mysore university Syndicate member Mahadev was more vocal when he referred to the corruption charges that Dr. Prabhudeva faced when he was the director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology during 2005.

According to documents made available to The Hindu, the Employees Association of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardioogy had lodged a complaint accusing Dr. Prabhudeva of purchasing drugs and other material worth Rs. 30 crore beyond the rate contract period in apparent contravention of Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (KTPP) Act, 1999, besides alleged misappropriation in payment of house-keeping services and other equipment.

Inquiry

The Governing Council of the Institute ordered an inquiry into the charges made against Dr. Prabhudeva. However, Dr. Prabhudeva sought voluntary retirement from the institute subsequently. “I request you to kindly drop all the charges against me and accept my application for voluntary retirement, which may be effected from the date of relief,” Dr. Prabhudeva said in a letter to the Chairman of the Institute’s Governing Council.

However, a section of the academia in Bangalore does not find anything out of place in the selection of Dr. Prabhudeva as the next Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University.

Background

“Medical field is also a part of higher education. His background as a medical practitioner should not preclude him from becoming Vice-Chancellor as long as he is well versed in higher education and competent enough to handle administrative matters,” N.R. Shetty, president of the Federation of former Vice-Chancellors of Universities in Karnataka, said.

Dr. Prabhudeva’s supporters argue that he became a victim of “politics” during his stint as Director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology.

‘Little truth’

“There is little truth in the charges against him.

He was forced to retire from the Institute to make way for others,” one of his supporter pointed out.

The search committee is headed by Dr. Savadatti, and Sudha Murthy of the Infosys Foundation, Shamim Jairajpuri, retired professor of Aligargh Muslim University, and J.A.K. Tareen, Vice-Chancellor of Puducherry Central University, are its members.

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