After Kashmir University, the Central University of Kashmir, Ganderbal has become a hub of corrupt practices and nepotism. The university was visualized as a center of educational excellence in Kashmir. The majority of its faculty came from Kashmir University including the ex Vice-Chancellor Prof Mehraj Uddin Mir. It is highly unfortunate and unbecoming of this august post that Prof Mehraj left no stone unturned to make this institution a dumping ground for his family members, relatives, children of relatives, and friends by flouting all rules and regulations.
Prof Mehraj Uddin Mir took over as the Vice-Chancellor of Central University in 2015. Before that, he had worked at the Department of Law at Kashmir University for more than 35 years. When he took over as VC, Central University was in its infancy. The university had to build its infrastructure, both physical and educational. The task involved investment of hundreds of crores. It is to be noted that the two Central Universities in the erstwhile state of J&K were built at the same time. Central University Jammu has done remarkably well both in terms of quality education and the building of physical infrastructure.
The Status Of Central University
Let us examine the status of Central University Kashmir. Prof Mehraj, who was former Registrar and Controller of Examinations in the University of Kashmir, has set new standards of nepotism in Central University.
Prof Mehraj, in association with the Registrar Prof Mohd Afzal Zargar, appointed his wife Prof Nighat Basu in the Department of Education. Till 2015-16, Central University Kashmir had only eight to ten departments. Out of these, three were education departments. These were Department of Education, Department of Teacher Education and Department of Physical Education. For Prof Mehraj, the main motive of these departments was to accommodate his relatives. The department of Teacher Education was established especially for his wife so that he could appoint her as a professor there. Prof Mehraj headed several committees which had financial powers. His wife Prof Nighat Basu was part of these committees. Insiders of the university say that no one from the UT Administration or the Centre has taken any cognizance of the expenditure made by Prof Mehraj. Prof Nighat Basu retired five years ago. She was again appointed on contractual basis for the position of Assistant Professor and is still working at Central University.
More Family Appointments In CU Kashmir
Now the story gets even more interesting. Prof Mehraj appointed Prof Praveen Pandit, the mother-in-law of his son Haider, as the Controller of Examination. Prof Pandit has been working in the education sector in Kashmir, so appointing her in CU was convenient for Prof Mehraj. He would get the experts of his choice for the selection process. The experts were tutored in whom to choose for the coveted government jobs with fat salaries. In this way, Prof Mehraj smartly used his position to share the goodies with his family and create a rather homely environment at Central University. After retiring as the controller of examinations, Prof Praveen Pandit was again engaged. This was just the start of the fraudulent appointments made by the former vice-chancellor in connivance with the Registrar Prof MA Zargar. Dr. Mehraj used his influence to get his son Haidar and his daughter-in-law appointed in Baba Ghulam Shah University. Prof Mehraj first appointed his daughter-in-law in Kashmir University. But after the news broke out in newspapers of the fraudulent appointment, Dr. Mehraj secured the appointment of his daughter-in-law in Baba Ghulam Shah University as an Assistant Professor.
Another feather in the cap of Dr. Mehraj is that he got his daughter appointed as a doctor in the Health Centre of the University of Kashmir. This time he was helped by Prof Khursheed Andrabi, the disgraced former vice-chancellor of University of Kashmir. The fraudulent appointment was highlighted by the media, and the Vigilance Department is investigating the misuse of official position by Prof Khursheed Andrabi. Dr. Mehraj and Prof Zargar have had a mutually happy equation at Central University, and have showered each other with favours. Prof Afzal Zargar was earlier the Registrar in Kashmir University. After his tenure as Registrar ended, he was taken on deputation and joined Central University as a Professor. As per rules, Prof Zargar had to complete one year on probation in Central University before he could be considered for the post of Registrar. In a convenient scheme of things, Prof Mehraj and Prof Zargar waited for the probation period to end. Thereafter, Prof Zargar joined Central University as Registrar. Till then, Dr. Fayaz Nikka was given interim charge as the Registrar.
Only a naïve person with no understanding of academic institutions will ask the question as to why Prof Mehraj and Prof Zargar were so keen that the latter should occupy the chair of the Registrar. The Registrar holds the purse strings of the university. The expenditure of the state grants allocated to a university run into hundreds of crores. These funds are routed through the Registrar. With Prof Mehraj as the Vice Chancellor and Prof Zargar as the Registar, the duo were in a convenient position to misuse the university funds.
Game On For Vice-Chancellorship
Prof Mehraj retired this year. There is now stiff angling at Central University that Prof Zargar should occupy this coveted position. To keep the malpractices at Central University going at a comfortable pace, Prof Mehraj is keen that Prof Zargar should take over as the Vice-Chancellor. The duo is also keen that Prof Zargar should become the Vice-Chancellor so that the frauds and scams carried out by the happy coalition can stay confidential, and the nepotism at the university may continue.
According to UGC guidelines, the senior-most faculty member takes charge as the Vice Chancellor after the retirement of the incumbent VC. Going by this rule, it is the turn of Prof Abdul Ghani to become the Vice Chancellor of Central University. Sources say that Prof Mehraj and Prof Zargar are going all out to try that Dr. Abdul Ghani should not occupy the chair as he is regarded as honest. Sources say the duo is afraid that if Prof Abdul Ghani becomes vice chancellor, their subterfuges, corrupt practices, and bluffs shall be exposed. Currently, Dr. Farooq Shah has been given the interim charge as Vice Chancellor of Central University Kashmir. Sources say that Dr. Farooq Shah is from the lobby of Prof Mehraj. As long as Dr. Shah occupies the VC’s chair, Prof Mehraj and Prof Zargar are in a comfortable space and do not have to fear that their wrongdoings shall be exposed, reveal sources. According to sources, there was a lot of hue and cry in the university regarding how Dr. Farooq Shah was given the interim charge as the VC ignoring senior-most faculty member Prof Ghani.
About Prof Abdul Ghani and Prof Farooq Shah
Both Prof Abdul Ghani and Prof Farooq Shah are from the Department of Management Studies of Central University. Prof Abdul Ghani has more than 28 years of experience in teaching and research. He is regarded as a man of principles and upright morals. Prof Ghani was earlier a professor at Kashmir University and then Regional Director IGNOU. He is now a Professor at Central University Kashmir. Prof. Farooq Shah has been a student of Prof Ghani. Shah was teaching in a college earlier. He joined Central University as an Associate Professor.
When contacted by KASHMIR CENTRAL regarding his wrongdoings at Central University Kashmir, Prof Mehraj said, “I cannot respond on call. I can’t respond to you on email or over WhatsApp. You can come and I will talk to you.” When the KC correspondent asked Prof Mehraj whether he would meet at his residence, he responded: “As per your convenience. I can’t tell anything. That’s your choice. You can come next week. My family members are out of station. Once they come back, you are welcome.”