Nagpur.In a first case of embarrassment to BJP led Narendra Modi government at the Centre, a matter of Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani reportedly favouring an RSS man to the coveted post of Chairman of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in Nagpur, has surfaced out of the closet. This man namely Vishram Jamdar was said to have written a congratulatory letter to Irani two days after she was sworn in as HRD minister. Interestingly, he had also reportedly attached his application to get himself nominated for the desired post, citing his RSS background and also how his family members met her during her brief Nagpur stay.
Later, a panel of four names recommended by the HRD ministry for the same post was set aside and Jamdar’s name was sent as the only option to the President for nomination. It was approved on September 15.
A reputed newspaper published a detailed article online, in which it also quoted the transcripts of the letter. In his letter to Irani on May 28, Jamdar wrote, “During your brief stay at our place in Nagpur & subsequent meeting in BJP office at Delhi, myself and my family members found an exceptional personality in you. We are all sure that under your able leadership the Ministry of HRD will achieve higher goals in respective field of HRD.”
“I have enclosed my resume along with this letter & take this opportunity to give some more details, with specific focus on the tenure of a Member, Board of Governors, VNIT Nagpur during 2002 till 2012,” he wrote.
In the letter, he referred to his RSS background. “Being recognised as RSS person I could remain there in VNIT Nagpur as BOG member in spite of the fact that Mr Arjun Singhji was HRD Minister during that period. This may probably speak of my work in VNIT Nagpur.”
“With this background I earnestly feel to render my services as the Chairman of this college for the development & upgradation of this college. Incidentally the tenure of the present Chairman is also over in the month of May 2014 only. If given an opportunity as a Chairman VNIT Nagpur I shall be working whole heartedly & intimately for the Institute as I take it as my Vidya Mandir,” Jamdar informed Irani.
The report added although appointments to 12 NITs were pending before Irani since June — panels had to be approved for submission to the President — the HRD ministry on August 29 singled out the vacancy in VNIT Nagpur on grounds that the institute was “continuously insisting on early nomination”.
The ministry appended four names — Dr Shreeram Inamdar, Professor at University of Delaware; B M Munjal, Chairman of Hero Honda Motors Ltd; M G Parameswaran, Executive Director & CEO of FCB Ulka Advertising Pvt Ltd; and, Arun Jain, Chairman & CEO of Polaris Software Lab Ltd — besides giving Irani the option to “recommend some other suitable names to the Honourable Visitor”.
A week later, Irani recommended Jamdar’s name. The President approved it on September 15.
What does rule say?
Under the NIT Act of 2007, the President, in his capacity as Visitor to NITs, nominates their chairpersons and members. Since 2008, the practice has been for the HRD minister to send a panel of at least two names to the President from a list of four or five drawn up by the ministry. Prior to the enactment of the NIT Act, the chairpersons were directly selected by the HRD minister in his capacity as Chairman of the Council of NITs. In July 2010, the ministry decided to approach the scientific community, CSIR, IITs, industrial and commercial institutions as well as industry houses to nominate persons of eminence for the posts of chairpersons of 30 NITs.