Sunday, August 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Send VC on leave, says council
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 30
Virtually showing the door to Dr S.D. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, the Executive Council of Himachal Pradesh University today recommended to the Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, that the Vice-Chancellor should be asked to proceed on leave immediately as no meaningful inquiry could be held into the affairs of the institutions as long as he was at the helm of affairs.

The special meeting of the council convened to discuss the issues raised by the Governor turned out to be unprecedented one with members asking Dr Sharma to leave the board room so that the council could take a decision on the allegations of financial irregularities and misuse of emergency powers by him. Dr Sharma was left with no option. However, he made it clear that he was leaving in protest.

Only minutes earlier it was Dr Sharma who had asked the Registrar to leave on the plea that the council had to discuss issues involving him. The members used the same logic to show him the door. In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar, the meeting proceeded under the chairmanship of Mr Sudripto Roy, Principal Secretary, Education. It was also resolved in the meeting that the officiating Vice-Chancellor, to be appointed by the Governor, would conduct an inquiry into all acts of omission and commission.

The charges of criminal nature, financial irregularities and misuse of emergency powers will be probed separately. The new incumbent could, if required take the help of the investigating agencies like the vigilance and enforcement departments to investigate the charges of criminal nature. This will in no way debar the government from pursuing any inquiry, which it deems fit, under the law of the land.

Regarding the allegations of the misuse of emergency powers all such cases will be listed and placed before the council in the next meeting. The council will decide each case on the merit basis.

If needed the services of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India will be utilised. Besides, ineligible officers holding the posts of the Controller of Examination, Finance Officer and the Registrar will be removed immediately if it was found that they did not possess the prescribed qualification.

According to sources, the efforts of some members to stall the resolution recommending that the Vice-Chancellor be sent on leave was thwarted by Mr Joginder Chander, a non-official member. He placed on record the letters written by him to the Vice-Chancellor, which he did not even bother to reply. He said with such a defiant attitude no inquiry could be pursued so long as he was occupying the post of the Vice-Chancellor.

The council has made recommendations, unprecedented in the history of the university, and the ball is now in the court of the Governor.

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