Joining the chorus of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), former union minister and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar on Friday sought removal of Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (HPAU) vice- chancellor KK Katoch, stating that he furnished "false information" in his resume before the selection committee.
Terming it a big 'academic fraud', Shanta said the prime minister's office directing the state to probe into the allegations against the vice-chancellor showed how serious the matter was. Shanta, who spoke on the issue for the first time, said that he was aware of the issue, but avoided to comment earlier as the appointment was done on a high level.
"However, some of our party workers gathered the information and I wonder how a person, wanting to be the vice-chancellor, misrepresented the facts," said Shanta. The two-time former chief minister added that he did not think that anything significant would come out in the probe being conducted by the state agencies.
"Hence, I have written to governor Kalyan Singh to send the vice-chancellor on compulsory leave and conduct unbiased inquiry into the matter," said Shanta, adding that if the allegations were proved, Katoch would be sacked.
Expressing surprise that how the appointment was done without verification of credential of the applicant, Shanta said those who recommended Katoch for vice- chancellor's post should also be held accountable and action be initiated against them.
"Besides, I have also written to chief minister Virbhadra Singh, seeking his intervention as such things are not good for university in particular and state at large," said Shanta.
He also stressed upon adopting a new system for appointment of vice-chancellors, like it has been done in the judiciary.
Minister hits out at govt over deteriorating law and order
The former union minister further hit out at the Virbhadra- led Congress government for deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
"What is most concerning is that the crime of rate has gone up in the state and such incidents are also being reported from the villages, while the criminals are roaming free," said Shanta.
He added that he had no hopes that the situation would improve as the administration had become biased in the Congress regime.
Shanta also took dig at Virbhadra for not acting on the Youth Congress workers, who were involved in an attack on BJP state office which left three of its saffron party works injured.
"One of the BJP worker lost vision in his one eye in to the attack and chief minister, instead of ordering a probe, gave clean a chit to the culprits," said Shanta.
"The CM giving decision without any probe is quite unfortunate and we demand a CBI inquiry into what happened that day," Shanta added.
The BJP veteran said ordering a CBI inquiry would be good for the reputation of the chief minister as his son was leading the protest during which the attack took place.
"If the CM thinks his party workers are not guilty then why is he hesitating in handing over the probe to the central agency," said Shanta, adding that the BJP would take this issue among masses and continue its struggle until justice was done.
Later, Shanta also addressed a party workers meeting and participated in the protest demonstration against the Youth Congress.