‘Flawed recruitment process’: Shipping Ministry targets former IMU V-C
The ongoing controversy over recruitment of more than 31 teaching staff and subsequent cancellation in Indian Maritime University (IMU) took a curious turn on Aug. 5, when the Union Secretary for Shipping, Mr. Vishwapati Trivedi, announced that the Ministry is not ruling out strict action on the then Vice-Chancellor of the maritime university, Prof. Raghuram, for his flawed recruitment process.
Speaking to reporters in Chennai just before his planned visit to IMU headquarters located 20 km from City in the wake of raging recruitment controversy, Mr Trivedi said: “I am not ruling out action on the Selection Committee (SC) as well as on former V-C Prof. Raghuram for following a recruitment process that was declared later as a flawed one by vigilance report.”
Ironically, Mr. Trivedi’s strong words for action on former V-C and Selection Committee comes after four months, when the then Shipping Secretary, Mr. P. K. Sinha, had categorically said that there were only procedural errors in the (recruitment) process followed by former V-C Raghuram and eventually gave a clean chit to the whole process before the media.
Coming down heavily on Prof. Raghuram for “abandoning” the institution midway, Mr. Trivedi said that he visits the IMU headquarters with a hope to bring everything back to perfection so that the varsity becomes a centre of excellence in maritime education in our country. He also assured that he would like to visit again the institution in another 45 days to take stock of the situation.
Union Secretary for Shipping, Mr. Vishwapati Trivedi
When questioned about the contradictory statements by top Shipping Ministry officials within a span of just four months, he replied: “The vigilance report that termed the whole process a flawed one came much later.”
Without revealing much about the reported flaws in the process, Mr. Trivedi stated: “No proper roster system was followed in the appointment of the staff done by former V-C Raghuram.”
According to Government of India strictures, roster registers are to be maintained both for permanent and temporary appointments, likely to become permanent or to continue indefinitely.
Mr. James Joseph, former Accountant-General of Tamil Nadu, who resigned as IMU Executive Council member recently, was emphatic that the selection of faculty at the university was based on post-based roster system as prescribed by a revised rule of Department of Personnel Training (DoPT) in 1997. The department had revised the rules from a vacancy-based system to a post-based system to help ensure reservation when the sanctioned strength was fulfilled.
However, official documents show that a report submitted by senior IMU Executive Council members had ruled out allegations of violations of the roster system in May 2013.
The Section 3 (a) of the report said: “It is observed that the post-based roster system as prescribed by DoPT in 1997 has been correctly followed.”
When posed a query on what forced former Shipping Secretary to give a clean chit to the recruitments, Mr. Trivedi answered that Mr. Sinha was impressed by the faculty recruited by Prof. Raghuram.
Meanwhile, it has emerged in crystal clear terms that the Shipping Ministry, which runs the affairs of the IMU, has decided go for a fresh recruitment of teaching staff.
When asked about the fate of the students, who are now left in the lurch, the Shipping Secretary stated that temporary staff may be roped in by IMU for the time being until the university gets new faculties, which is now stuck in a legal battle, as a section of the affected staff got stay orders against IMU in Madras High Court.