Hon. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has stayed the appointment of Priya Varghese as Associate Professor in Kannur University. Priya is the wife of K.K. Ragesh former MP (Rajya Saha) and incumbent Private Secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Governor has taken drastic step in his capacity as the Chancellor of the universities in the state. Governor’s action came up in view of the Save University Campaign Committee’s complaint. Accordingly, Chancellor issued a Show Cause Notice to Vice Chancellor and other officials. And, Raj Bhavan issued a press release in this regard.
Recently a crucial document with respect to the appointment of Priya Varghese had come to public notice which states that despite lacking the required teaching practice and research score, she was given high marks in interview. Obviously the Selection Committee headed by Vice Chancellor Dr. Gopinath Raveendran had overlooked the parameters and given first rank to Priya.
Reports suggest, Priaya enjoyed least score in the publication of research papers and teaching practice. Those who achieved higher ranks were sidelined by giving less marks in interview. Six candidates had attended the interview. Priya got 156 marks for research papers, that is the least. And, she scored the highest marks in the interview, that is, 32. The second rank holder Joseph Scaria’s score for the research papers was 651, but mere 30 for the interview. Ganesh. C., the third rank holder’s score was 645 and 28 respectively. Moreover, Joseph Scaria has got more than 15 years’ teaching experience. Campaign committee had already complained that Priya Varghese did not have 8 years’ teaching experience as UGC stipulates. It is already before the Hon. Governor. Right To Information (RTI) documents say that Priya painted two years’ responsibility of Students Service Director as teaching experience to bag eight year experience UGC stipulates. Actually, it is a nonteaching job ! It is against the rule, asserts Save University Campaign Committee.
These sorts of nepotism have been a point of allegations since the very beginning of the first Pinarayi regime kicked off in 2016. Allegations came up against several appointments and some of them had to go home. CPM MLA A.N. Shamseer’s wife had to face the same sort of allegation in Kerala High Court last year. Similarly there were complaints about the appointments of the spouses of several CPM leaders. There were allegations that Syndicate of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) decided to do away with the UGC norms drafted in 2000 for conducting interviews for the candidates for teaching profession to help Vani Kesari, wife of present Minister P. Rajeev.