Nagpur: The Governor of Maharashtra and Chancellor of Maharashtra universities Ch Vidyasagar Rao today terminated the services of Dr Raviprakash G Dani as Vice Chancellor of Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola with immediate effect yesterday. The reason quoted :he not being a citizen of India! “The decision to remove Dr Dani from the post of Vice Chancellor was taken after obtaining the opinion of the Law and Judiciary Department of the State Government, the Advocate General of Maharashtra and the Ministry of External Affairs,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said. Dani was appointed as the vice-chancellor for a five-year period in August 2012. He was then serving at the Texas Tech University in USA and had succeeded Dr V M Mayande whose term as VC ended in July 2012.
But as Dani commented through an sms, it was known that he was not an Indian citizen even when he was appointed almost 5 years ago! He has been ‘sacked’ when he has just 15 days to go before his term expires.
Dr.Prakash Dani being handpicked for this position had raised many eye brows on this very point in 2012. Proffesors and faculty of the University had questioned how an NRI could be named to this important position when he was not even living in India. (As per reports, Dani never shifted to India full time even after his appointment and kept ‘commuting’ between USA and India).
What are the 17 charges against Dani?
Senior officers of the University are pointing out that there were 17 charges against Dani which were the main reason for his ouster.
The trouble for Dr. Dani is supposed to have begun last year in April when the Chancellor Rao called on former revenue minister Eknath Khadse, also the PDKV pro-chancellor, after receiving many complaints against him. The closed-door meeting between them lasted for over two-and-a-half hours. Subsequently, the file containing allegations and others charges against Dani was moved to the chancellor on May 22, 2016, by the PDKV authorities.
Later, PDKV Executive Council members , Gopi Thakre and Nitin Hiwase lodged complaints against him with Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) after he allegedly failed to respond to a slew of queries.
The apex body then constituted a panel to probe charges and found him guilty on 17 counts, including large scale financial irregularities, failure to follow directives of the pro-chancellor, and non-cooperation. MCAER had received complaints from the students and teachers in this regard.
Why the Chancellor’s office is not elaborating on what these 17 counts are instead of professing dual citizenship is the real question. Because the logical assumption anyone would make is, shouldn’t the opinion of the Law Dept. of the state and Ministry of External affairs been taken BEFORE such an important appointment was made? As Vice Chancellor a person presides over a large University that employs thousands of people and has its activity spread over many cities and towns.
Having employed him when all facts were before them and then terminating him just as his term was getting over anyway, does more harm to the institution than to the person.
The termination would make little difference to me,” Dani said.