Is Banwarilal Purohit, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, being held a prisoner by the staff of Chennai Raj Bhavan? Most of the Raj Bhavan staff were appointed by the DMK and the AIADMK governments that have been ruling Tamil Nadu alternately. It is natural for these party leaders to appoint persons of their choice as government employees. The Raj Bhavan staff have been picked carefully by the party in power so they could keep an eye on the activities of the Governor.
Purohit was the Chief Guest of a seminar on “Enhancing Quality Education” held at Chennai on October 6, 2018. Usually, the Public Relations Department of the Raj Bhavan sends copies of the speeches delivered by the Governor to all publications based in Chennai.
On Saturday, Governor Purohit, known for his bluntness and frankness, chose to lambast the corruption which has swallowed the education sector in Tamil Nadu. “I became sad after coming to Tamil Nadu because I heard that crores had changed hands in the appointment of vice-chancellors. What I heard was that the posts of vice-chancellors were being given to the highest bidders. I could not believe that. Then I decided things have to be changed,” said Purohit.
The Governor said since assuming charge of Raj Bhavan in Chennai, he has appointed nine vice-chancellors till date. “All were appointed purely on merit. Nobody has found any faults in these appointments,” said the Governor.
Purohit’s observations come at a time when academicians in the State were up in arms against the political class for the massive corruption prevailing in the field of higher education. Prof M Ananthakrishnan, leading educationist and honorary chairman of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Kanpur, had told PGurus that the post of vice-chancellors was being auctioned in Tamil Nadu. “The going rate varies from Rs.7 crores to Rs.20 crores depending on the size of the university,” Prof Ananthakrishnan had told in 2012 itself. He had said that both the AIADMK and the DMK were responsible for the state of affairs.
Team PGurus draw the attention of the readers to a memorandum submitted by the scion of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Dr. Anbumani Ramdoss, the young Member of Parliament, to Governor Purohit early this year listing the details of corruption in the appointment of vice-chancellors, heads of departments, professors and assistant professors in universities n Tamil Nadu. Dr. Ramdoss had alleged that while the junior teaching faculty position was up for grabs for Rs 40 lakhs, the post of vice-chancellors commanded a premium of Rs 10 crore upwards.
Interestingly, Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of a vice-chancellor getting arrested while accepting a bribe from one of the applicants for the post of assistant professor. Ganapathy, the vice-chancellor of Bharathiyar University was caught with his pants down as he was accepting cash and cheque from the applicant while his office was raided by the sleuths of the special police team. Ganapathy has been suspended since then.
Many former vice-chancellors including that of Dr. Ambedkar Law University are either out on bail or have protected themselves against possible arrest by managing to get anticipatory bail.
Governor Purohit had come under fire from all parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his uncompromising stance against corruption. Leaders of these political parties had cried “wolf” when Purohit appointed vice chancellors of impeccable quality and scholarly erudition.
Key sections of the speech omitted
What is surprising is that the Governor’s speech copy issued by the Joint Director (Public Relations), Raj Bhavan, Chennai, does not have this part of the speech delivered by him. Even if the Governor had deviated from the prepared speech and makes his observations, the public relations department of the Raj Bhavan is expected to include the same in the copy. It is also to be noted that the speech copy is distributed to the media persons after the Governor makes his speech.
That Chennai Raj Bhavan is home to many Periarites and Left Wing Extremists is known to all. The selective media leaks about the impending release of the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi following the directive to Raj Bhavan by the Tamil Nadu government had forced the Governor to issue a release to the media countering such news.
Similarly, a section of the media has been complaining that they were being blacked out by the Raj Bhavan Public Relations Department by keeping them away from Raj Bhavan functions and press releases. A thorough probe has to be ordered into the blacking out of sensitive portions from Governor Purohit’s speech copy.
Here is the copy released by the PR Dept: