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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Rider in Prez nod to Mattoo as V-C

Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 31, 2010
First Published: 00:13 IST(31/12/2010) | Last Updated: 00:13 IST(31/12/2010)

The President has added an unprecedented caveat in her approval to the appointment of strategic affairs expert Amitabh Mattoo as Vice Chancellor of Jammu central university, leaving the human resource development ministry trapped in a dilemma.

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The HRD ministry is studying the implications of the caveat, which effectively places the onus of any problems that Mattoo’s appointment may lead to on Kapil Sibal’s ministry, government sources confirmed to HT.

The President’s decision to lace the approval with a subtle conditionality — that effectively requires the government to take responsibility of possible law and order problems that may arise from Mattoo’s appointment — is a first, sources said.

Mattoo’s name was first proposed by the HRD ministry to the President six months back. But his nomination was followed by protests from fringe groups in Jammu who claimed he was pro-Pakistani, was not a Jammu resident, and had skeletons in his cupboard from previous appointments.

The President sought the HRD ministry’s opinion. The ministry replied stating that there were no vigilance cases against Mattoo, the VC of a central university is not required by law to be from the region where the varsity comes up, and that a panel of academicians had scrutinized his capabilities before recommending his name.

The case became more complicated when the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary sent a report to the HRD ministry indicating that Mattoo’s appointment may lead to law and order problems. The HRD ministry received President’s approval finally last week.


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