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‘Nepotism’ hurdle for JU recruitment panel

Calcutta, Oct. 8: This expert panel, which met to decide on candidates who could teach mathematics in Jadavpur University, was so divided that it wound up without completing its job.

In the process, it left the mathematics department in the lurch. The department is now looking forward to a fresh set of advertisements inviting applications to fill up a vacancy.

Not that there was any dearth of suitable candidates in the first round; actually, over 30 attended the interview for three reader’s posts in the general category on September 23. But a section of the panel, disgusted with the open “nepotism” that reeked of a “scandal”, stalled all moves to push in “personal favourites” of the authorities, resulting in the vacancies not being filled up.

The selection committee met in two phases on September 23, according to university insiders. The first phase witnessed the selection of one candidate who, according to the university tabulation sheet (a copy of which is with The Telegraph), had such poor scores in his Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations that they were not written out on the tabulation sheet.

“Passed Madhyamik in 1976 and Higher Secondary in 1978,” was all that was written against his name. Though he had a first class in his master’s, his graduation result (55 per cent) was nowhere near the first-class mark.

That over, the committee, comprising vice-chancellor Ashok Nath Basu, dean of the science faculty Subrata Pal, head of the mathematics department A.K. Pal and five external experts, one of whom was the chancellor’s nominee, met again around 2.30 pm.

Fireworks started from the word go, senior officials said. Though one candidate was selected, one external expert suggested — in writing — the name of another (something usually not done).

One of the university officials then suggested two names from the list of candidates; one of them, according to university documents, had a consistent second-class grade throughout his academic career (except Madhyamik, where he barely got 60 per cent) and scored 43 per cent in his graduation.

This, even for the most reticent of the panelists, was too much. A wave of protests greeted the “recommendation” and the notice that went out against the third vacancy read: “None found suitable.”

Vice-chancellor Basu would field no query, saying the registrar (Rajat Bandopadhyay) was the right man to contact. Bandopadhyay was not around. “He has gone to Netajinagar,” was all that his office would say.

What this would mean, a university official said, was a fresh set of advertisements (costing “thousands”) for the cash-strapped varsity. It would also mean a teacher less for the maths department.

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