Chennai: A day after the Opposition parties hit out at Governor Banwarilal Purohit over the appointment of Karnataka’s M.K. Surappa as Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, the Raj Bhavan on Saturday made it clear that the appointment of the VC has been done in accordance with statutes and asked the parties to keep out politics and avoid unnecessary mudslinging.
The appointment of Surappa, former director of IIT Ropar and a renowned scholar in materials engineering from IISc, Bangalore, has created a political uproar with several parties including DMK and PMK opposing the appointment citing V-C’s Karnataka origin.
In a statement to steer clear controversy surrounding the appointment, Raj Bhavan said, “The welfare of the Anna University and engineering colleges affiliated to the university, faculty and students was kept in mind when making the selection. The whole process was fair and transparent.”
It further said the selection was purely based on the need for Anna University to have a vice-chancellor who understands the needs of technical education in Tamil Nadu to steer the future of the university, faculty and students in most suitable manner.
“When the Governor assumed charge on October 6, 2017, totally six universities were without vice-chancellors. Since then, appointment of vice-chancellor has been completed for 5 of the 6 universities, with the only exception being Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University,” Raj Bhavan said.
The release also elaborated the process involved in the selection of Anna University vice-chancellor. “The search committee headed by Justice V.S. Sirpurkar has also had two other illustrious personalities. After personally interviewing shortlisted candidates the panel has forwarded a list of three candidates to the Governor on March 31,” it stated.
Based on this, interviews were fixed for the 3 shortlisted candidates namely H. Devaraj, S. Ponnusamy and M.K. Surappa, all from the BC category on 5.4.2018.
Listing the academic qualifications and administrative experience of the three candidates, it said, “M.K. Surappa is a Metallurgical Engineer by qualification and holds a doctorate in that branch of engineering, S. Ponnusamy is a doctorate holder in Mathematics; H. Devaraj is a doctorate holder in Biochemistry.”
While Surappa enjoys the administrative experience of having been the director of IIT, Ropar for 6 years, S. Ponnusamy, who is a professor of mathematics at IIT Madras has been head of the Chennai unit of the Indian Statistical Institute, and H. Devaraj has been the vice chairman of the University Grants Commission.
“Soon after the completion of the interview of the 3 candidates on 5th April 2018, the final result was declared and the press release was issued on the same day, to ensure complete transparency and total non-interference in the process of selection,” it pointed out.“Since there has been no extraneous interference in the selection process and since the choice of the vice-chancellor was done entirely in accordance with the statute, it is requested that politics be kept out and unnecessary mudslinging avoided,” it said.