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Vice-chancellor of a central university accused of faking German PhD, HRD seeks answers

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The vice-chancellor of Bihar’s Mahatma Gandhi Central University is believed to have studied at a German institute but couldn’t complete his thesis.

New Delhi: The Human Resource Development ministry has received complaints that the vice-chancellor of a central university lied about a foreign education to get the job, sources said.

The complainants have alleged that Arvind Agarwal of Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Bihar, did not pursue his PhD at a German institute as claimed, and actually got the degree from the University of Rajasthan.

“The complaints point out that while Agarwal, in his application for the post of VC, said he had completed his PhD from Heidelberg University, Germany, in reality, his degree is from the University of Rajasthan,” said a senior HRD official.

In the wake of the complaints, the ministry has sought a reply from Agarwal, with a decision is expected soon on whether an inquiry will be initiated against him, sources said. To initiate an inquiry, the ministry will have to seek the approval of the President, who is the Visitor of the university.

Despite repeated requests from ThePrint, Agarwal refused to comment on the issue. He has, however, visited the HRD ministry to provide his side of the story.

Sources said that though Agarwal had studied in Germany for a while, he was unable to complete and submit the thesis.

A senior HRD official said the complaints against Agarwal also alleged that he had misreported his marks.

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Fudged credentials

The complaints come close on the heels of several reports of fudged educational qualifications, including that of the recently elected Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) president Ankiv Baisoya of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Baisoya, a Master’s student, is said to have secured admission in Delhi University’s department of Buddhist studies on the basis of an undergraduate degree from a Tamil Nadu university that denies he ever studied there.

Minister of State for HRD Satyapal Singh informed Parliament earlier this year that the University Grants Commission (UGC) had found three cases of plagiarism in PhD theses by senior academicians, including two vice-chancellors, over the past three years.

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Singh identified the three as Chandra Krishnamurthy, the vice-chancellor of Pondicherry University (2015), Anil Kumar Upadhyay, a reader at the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi (2017), and Vinay Kumar Pathak, the vice-chancellor of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow (2018).

An earlier version of the report mis-spelt the name of the German university, and inadvertently identified Mahatma Gandhi Central University as Motihari Central University. The error is regretted.

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