According to the Anna University, with the tenure of MK Surappa as its Vice Chancellor ending on April 11, a Special Syndicate meeting was convened by the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, and it resolved to constitute the three member panel to exercise the powers and duties of the Vice Chancellor.
The three members of the Convenor Committee are: Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Apoorva, Additional Chief Secretary, Information Technology, Hans Raj Varma, and the varsity’s College of Engineering (Guindy Campus) Information & Communication Engineering Department Chairperson, Prof. Ranjani Parthasarathi.
The Tamil Nadu government has set up a committee headed by Justice P. Kalaiyarasan (retd) to inquire into corruption complaints against Surappa.
According to the government, it has received six complaints against Surappa.
Surappa, however, maintained that he had never taken any bribe in his life.
As regards the allegation of hiring his daughter by the varsity, he said she was an intellectual property (IP) specialist working at the Indian Institute of Science.
The Anna University IP officers use her services and she worked in an honorary capacity, he said.
According to the government, the investigation officer will also check into the functioning of the Anna University and whether it was confirmed with the Anna University Act, 1978 and temporary appointments made during Surappa’s tenure.
But there are those who stand by Surappa. Superstar-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) leader Kamal Haasan wondered whether he is another Nambi Narayanan, the space scientist who was falsely framed on a spy case.
Surappa is an upright honest person and does not bend before the powers that be, he said.
“Have you inquired those who had stayed and those who had used Anna University vehicles improperly?” Kamal asked the state government.
Surappa had previously served as the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, for six years (2009 to 2015).
Holding a Doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering, he has 30 years of teaching experience of which 24 years were spent at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
However, political parties like the DMK and the PMK had opposed his appointment as Anna University Vice Chancellor in 2018 as he hailed from Karnataka and was not the son of the soil.
But the Raj Bhavan held he was an apt choice. “The welfare of the Anna University and Engineering Colleges affiliated to the University, faculty and the students were kept in mind when making the selection,” the Raj Bhavan had said in 2018 on Surappa’s appointment.
“Since there has been no extraneous interference in the selection process and since the choice of the Vice Chancellor was done entirely in accordance with the statute, it is requested that politics be kept out and unnecessary mud slinging avoided,” the Raj Bhavan statement had added .