GK INVESTIGATION | Favouritism has a face in KU

Varsity's own documented trail takes lid off favours extended to ‘blue-eyed’ Scientist ever since his appointment
This implies that KU awarded the PhD degree to the candidate without determining the equivalence of the 18-month EMBA (IT) programme with a regular 2-year Masters programme.
This implies that KU awarded the PhD degree to the candidate without determining the equivalence of the 18-month EMBA (IT) programme with a regular 2-year Masters programme.File/GK

Srinagar: Documents speak for themselves.

If the University of Kashmir (KU)’s own documents are any proof, then the favours extended to an allegedly blue-eyed Scientist in the Information Technology Department can only be described as “limitless bounties”.

From alleged violation of norms related to the award of PhD degree to bending of norms in processing medical reimbursement worth lakhs of rupees despite furnishing wrong information, it has been a windfall for Maroof Naeem Qadri, In-Charge Director of the Information Technology Department in the KU, KU insiders said.

As per the available documents Maroof Qadri, son of Mohammad Naeem Qadri of Shah Anwar Colony, Hyderpora, Srinagar, has got his PhD on the basis of an 18-month “Executive Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management” from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), his PhD has been awarded in the discipline of Computer Sciences in total violation of KU’s own notification which says that “a candidate registered or to be registered for admission to M Phil or PhD programme shall be awarded degree in the subject or discipline in which he or she has competed his or her Masters degree”.

“Consequently, the result notification to be issued for the M Phil or PhD programme shall explicitly reflect the subject in which the candidate has completed the Masters degree,” the notification issued by Deputy Registrar, Academic, KU reads.

By virtue of this notification, Maroof should have been awarded the PhD degree in Management Studies rather than Computer Sciences.

According to highly placed sources in KU, a former VC of KU, who is a relative of Maroof, threw the notification to winds only to make his relative eligible for the post of Director IT, as and when it is advertised, for which Ph D in computer sciences is ideally among essential qualifications.

Surprisingly, if not shockingly, KU’s Joint Registrar Academic, more than four years after the PhD was awarded to Maroof, has explicitly written in response to a complaint received from the LG’s Grievance Cell bearing No 99902710070 that the “University as on date has not granted any equivalence to the Online EMBA (IT) programme. UGC can be approached for further clarification if required.”

This implies that KU awarded the PhD degree to the candidate without determining the equivalence of the 18-month EMBA (IT) programme with a regular 2-year Masters programme.

“When the candidate’s Masters is not equivalent in the eyes of the university, how is the PhD awarded to him valid?” asked a KU scientist, wishing anonymity.

According to IGNOU’s 2009 Admission Notification for “Executive Master of Business Administration in Information Technology” in collaboration with U21Global, Singapore, the programme was only for 18 months duration.

Further, the admission notification said: “U21 Global will conduct the programme online for the first 12 months to an Executive Certificate in Global Information Technology Management. This will be followed by a 6 month programme from IGNOU leading to an Executive MBA in Information Technology Management.” Shockingly, while the regular Master’s programme has a mandatory eligibility that the applicant candidate should be a graduate, in the instant case even “non-graduates” were eligible.

As if this was not enough, the UGC has categorically stated, through many correspondences that U21 Global was not recognised by it (at least at the time the said degree was offered by IGNOU), even as the U21Global in the official transcript of Maroof clearly said that he was admitted to “Executive Certificate in Global IT Management”.

The alleged favours extended to the “scientist” have been historical, according to many scientists in KU who are craving for due promotions despite having better credentials and track record than Maroof.

The only thing other scientists lack is absence of any type of proximity with the power corridors, both within and outside KU, which could sail them through their legitimate and due promotions, they say.

The initial application form for appointment to the post of Information Technologist of Maroof, which is in possession of Greater Kashmir, is silent on the division and percentage of marks of the candidate’s class 10.

KU has received several RTI applications seeking the class 10 marks sheet of Maroof but all these RTI applications have been stonewalled on one pretext or the other, sources in KU said.

In response to an RTI application regarding ‘Qualification and Percentage of Marks’ of Scientists “B” in KU, the Assistant Registrar (Administration-TW) has responded to his Public Information Office on May 9, 2012, with the qualification of all 10 Scientists “B” working in KU at that time.

However, the officer has only mentioned "BE Computer Science Engineering” in the column concerning Maroof, clearly skipping his percentage of marks in BE only in his case, as was sought in the RTI application.

The BE percentage issue, according to KU insiders, has also been contentious and has led to several RTI applications which have also been stonewalled from time to time allegedly to “save the skin of the applicant”.

It is alleged that the candidate has less than 55 percent marks, thus making him ineligible for any master’s programme and appointment in Open Merit category.

In the initial appointment application form, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, Maroof has claimed that he has 59 percent in BE with 2nd division but the RTI applications have so far never endorsed this percentage, raising more suspicion and doubt.

According to more documents in possession of Greater Kashmir, Maroof has been accused of willfully furnishing wrong information in an affidavit related to reimbursement of medical expenses (some say to the tune of Rs 30 lakh), incurred on his late mother’s treatment for a fatal disease.

While the J&K Government’s Medical Attendance and Allowance Rules, 1990, clearly mention that the “family means wife of husband, children including adopted children, step-children and parents (and minor brothers and minor sisters) living with the government servant and wholly dependent on him”, the KU’s own documents, signed by Assistant Registrar Administration-TW reveal that “Maroof has undertaken an oath certifying that his mother was wholly and solely dependent on him” which is contrary to the facts.

The official’s mother was a pensioner of the J&K government (School Education Department where she worked as a teacher), the pension is even as on date being drawn by her nominee (the husband).

The Administration TW, in its response to the complaint received from LG’s Grievance Redressal Cell, has skipped the amount of money drawn by the official as medical reimbursement claim and also why it did not cross-check the claim of the official before processing the case for payment from the State exchequer.

Instead of responding to the LG’s Grievance Cell with full facts in a transparent manner, KU has instead sought response from the accused “scientist” only trying to justify the wrong information furnished to secure a huge sum of money from KU exchequer.

“KU should have constituted an internal committee to probe the entire matter since it involved furnishing of wrong information by a government servant as well as draining KU exchequer in a fraudulent manner,” said an official, adding that the least the KU could have done was to make the recovery of the huge expenses besides penalizing the official for submitting “false information in a duly-sworn affidavit.”  The details of the case are pending investigation in the Crime Branch and Vigilance Organisation, the sources said.

“There are people in KU who are not paid even Rs 5000 to 6000 as medical reimbursement, not to talk of paying a huge amount of Rs 30 lakh as per actual expenses. But in this case, the authorities and officials brazenly overlooked norms,” a KU official said.

Another favour done to Maroof is his non-rotation from the position of In-Charge IT Director for last nearly seven years.

This is in contravention to KU's own three-year rotation policy for all Heads of Departments, Directors, and Coordinators. "This was done only to favour him and give him an edge in the appointment to the post of Director IT which has been put to advertisement last week," alleged a scientist, wishing anonymity. "The eligibility conditions laid down in the advertisement notice will throw more light on this aspect."

Notably, for many in KU, the official in question has been the "face of favouritism" ever since his first appointment as Information Technologist, a post which they allege was never created by the University Council and does not even exist on the University's Schedule of Establishment.

According to the documents available with Greater Kashmir, a former vice chancellor also went to the extent of granting two advance increments to Maroof years after his appointment.

Now that KU has put the post of Director IT to advertisement after more than a decade, voices have already started getting louder for the removal of the In-Charge Director so that a level-playing field is provided to all applicants in the selection process.

Registrar KU, Mir Nisar Ahmad said a case related to Maroof’s qualifications and degree was dismissed in the court.

However, he said that the medical reimbursement was extended to the official despite his mother not being “fully dependent”.

"There are a good number of instances where the government has extended medical reimbursement in such situations," he said.

KU Vice Chancellor Neelofar Khan could not be contacted for a version despite repeated attempts.

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