Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday, December 13, alleged that Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu had written a letter to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan seeking the re-appointment of Dr Gopinath Raveendran as Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University for a continuous term from November 24, 2021.
Speaking to reporters, Chennithala presented a copy of Bindu's purported letter to the Governor, and alleged that the minister has no authority to write a recommendation letter to the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, and termed it as a clear case of corruption and nepotism. In the letter, the Higher Education Minister, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of the university, had requested the Chancellor to cancel the notification appointing a search-cum-selection committee for identifying the person to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor, Chennithala alleged.
Stating that Bindu â€śviolated the oath of officeâ€ť and that she has â€ślost the moral right to continue as ministerâ€ť, the former Leader of the Opposition urged the minister to send her resignation to the Chief Minister immediately. Chennithala, who represents Haripad seat in the State Assembly, said he would seek the Lokayukta investigation into the matter.
In the letter, the minister allegedly said Ravindran's continuation would immensely benefit Kannur University and Section 10 (10) of Kannur University Act provides for the re-appointment of an incumbent Vice-Chancellor for a second term and does not stipulate any restriction on age. There was no immediate reaction from the minister or the government on the allegations of the Congress leader.
Bindu's letter to the Governor came to the fore a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that universities in Kerala are headed by people who are well-versed in the field of education and that the Vice-Chancellors are appointed by search-cum-selection committees as per UGC norms.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also claimed that the state government has never asked the Governor to do anything against his conscience and informing him about the government's views was a natural communication at the administrative-level. "It is up to the Chancellor (Governor) to make the appropriate decision based on them. The Governor has that freedom," the Chief Minister had said.
The reappointment of Ravindran came amid protest by Save University Campaign Committee (SUCC) against its decision to shortlist the wife of CPI(M) leader K K Ragesh for a teaching post. Ragesh, a former Rajya Sabha MP, is the private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.