Nagpur College V-C makes defiant principal reinstate lady professor

NAGPUR: Principal Laxmikant Tulankar on Monday finally issued reinstatement letter to beleaguered associate professor Vandana Mahatme, whom he had dismissed from service without taking prior permission of (NU).
On February 10, the principal had terminated the service of Mahatme, who is set to superannuate in June, in gross violation of NU norms.

On April 6, vice-chancellor SP Kane had called up Tulankar over phone and asked him to immediately reinstate Mahatme as the “action” was not taken as per rules. NUTA vice-president Nitin Kongre and secretary Ajit Jachak had raised the issue with the VC.

However, a defiant Tulankar had refused to comply with the vice-chancellor’s orders.

In fact, Tulankar had disregarded even the March 16 NU order reminding the college that the principal’s action was inconsistent with the provisions of Statute 53. When the college failed to reinstate Mahatme even on April 9, the VC issued show-cause notice and summoned Tulankar along with the college trust Citizens’ Education Society head. The VC had also warned of initiating proceedings against the college as per Section 108 of the Maharashtra Public Universities Act.

On April 13, Tulankar along with management head met the VC. As per NU officials, though the duo attempted to place before the VC the grounds for their action, Kane refused to entertain any explanation and sought immediate reinstatement of Mahatme. “The principal unsuccessfully tried to make a case for the management’s wrong decision. But, the VC made it clear that all the issues were secondary and only the reinstatement issue was on his priority,” the officials said.

When TOI asked what led to reversal of his order, Tulankar refused to comment.

In his termination order, Tulankar had said that the institute had set up an inquiry led by Adv DN Mathur to probe charges of irregularities against Mahatme. The charge sheet was served to her on July 20, 2017 and July 26, 2017. “But, Mahatme attacked Mathur when he was conducting the inquiry on February 8, 2018,” the order reads.

59-year-old Mahatme, who was appointed at the institute in November 1984, had trashed the claims as “baseless allegations”. She defended herself saying her removal was to make her give up her stake as the next principal.

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