Karnataka's tainted Vice Chancellor H Maheshappa has hit the headlines yet again, but this time for political reasons. Once known for his house-renovation spree and the Rs 4.5 crore he spent behind it while being the VC of Visvesvaraya Technological University, he is now in news for being appointed as Congress's top aide.
He has now been appointed by the Congress as the General Secretary of its Information Technology Cell. Although the Congress said that he has been chosen for his knowledge in the IT sector and experience as a Vice Chancellor of VTU, his bill to the state exchequer during his tenure in the university is still memorable.
That is not all, after his appointment at the given post on September 26, Congress in-charge KC Venugopal too visited the IT cell and showered praises over its functioning during a meeting with legislators last week. Furthermore, it was said that he has been given the responsibility of developing and strengthening of the organisation and adhering to the policies and the principles of Congress party and the IT cell.
Here is a list of things he spent on and too unnecessarily when he was the VC of the Visvesvaraya Technological University:
In addition to this, discrepancies were found in VTU's corpus fund, which used to be in excess of Rs 500 crore and was reduced to nil during his tenure. The account funded had many irregularities. For instance:
Not just that, it was also alleged that he had given false information during his appointment as the VC. He reportedly claimed that he had passed with first division from Mysore Engineering College, though records showed he passed with a second class. He also claimed to have guided four PhD students at the Annamalai University (Tamil Nadu) though there were no records to prove this. He was also accused of recruiting 168 teaching staff flouting the government's orders.
In 2010-2011, the state had issued a show-cause notice to him under Section 17 of the Karnataka State Higher Education Council Act, 2010, for providing false information during his appointment. But, he failed to respond to that. Not just that, he refused to respond to the notices that were sent to him thereafter for various other discrepancies.
Maheshappa was appointed as VTU V-C on July 2, 2010, for a three-year tenure. But he was stripped of his position after a couple of extensions by Governor Vajubhai Vala in March 2016. Incidentally, he is the first V-C to be suspended while he still had over 100 days of service left.
Meanwhile, when asked about the corruption charges against Maheshappa, Niranjan Rao said, "It is true that I have appointed Dr Maheshappa as the general secretary of the cell. While appointing him, I was not aware of the charges he was facing as I considered only his knowledge in the IT sector and experience as Vice-Chancellor of the VTU."
He further added, "I was only tapping his knowledge and utilising his talent to devise policies and connect with the IT world. If there are any charges against him, then I will look into them and take necessary action aligning with the party ideology."