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Shamshad Ali|Dec 9, 2022
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Raj Bhavan here on Thursday strongly dismissed some media reports that it was on the direction of Governor Arif Mohammad Khan that the name of Gopinath Ravindran was suggested for reappointment as vice-chancellor of Kannur University. Accusing the LDF government of 'grossly distorting' the facts, the Governor's office said the truth is that the same was initiated by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and higher education minister R Bindhu.
Raj Bhavan's strongly worded statement came in the wake of media reports that the state government had submitted before the Lokayukta that Bindhu had only proposed a name in response to the Kerala Governor's letter on appointment of Kannur University VC. The government reportedly made the claim before the Lokayukta on Tuesday during a hearing on Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala's petition accusing minister Bindu of 'misuse' of power, nepotism and corruption by seeking re-appointment of Ravindran as Kannur University vice-chancellor. In the statement, Raj Bhavan narrated the chronology of events on November 21, 22 and 23, last year that led to reappointment of Ravindran as Vice Chancellor of Kannur University. It also mentioned about the meetings of CM's legal adviser with the Governor to convey the government's desire to reappoint Ravindran and Khan expressing reservation over the proposal. The Raj Bhavan also referred to the letters written by Bindhu to the Governor highlighting Ravindran's capabilities and desirability to be appointed for another term as vice-chancellor. "...the argument in the news reports that the 'Minister (Bindhu) had only proposed a name in response to the Governor's letter', is far from the truth, which is clear from the chronology of events (which was also mentioned in Hon’ble Governors letter to Chief Minister on 08th December 2021)", the Raj Bhavan said.
"In brief, the process of selection of vice-chancellor, Kannur University which was set in motion vide Kerala Raj Bhavan notification dated October 27, 2021 came to an end consequent to the request from the Minister Higher Education, OSD to Chief Minister and Legal Advisor to the Chief Minister duly supported by the legal opinion of the Advocate General, Kerala, culminated in the reappointment of Dr Gopinath Ravindran as Vice Chancellor, Kannur University", the statement said.
Raj Bhavan's strongly worded rebuttal came a day before Lokayukta is to decide whether it should launch an investigation against Bindu on the basis of the case filed by Chennithala. The Governor and the opposition parties including the Congress have been attacking the Left government over Bindhu's alleged intervention in the re-appointment of Ravindran as vice-chancellor of Kannur University, saying it was an "infringement" upon the authority of the chancellor. A copy of the higher education minister's purported letter to the Governor seeking re-appointment of Ravindran for a continuous term from November 24, 2021 had surfaced recently triggering a political row in the state. Recently, the Kerala High Court had dismissed a plea against the re-appointment of Ravindran for the post of VC. The court had said that the re-appointment was different from appointment and the procedure adopted for the latter need not be followed when re-appointing someone.
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