BJP’s Kerala unit president K Surendran has found himself in a controversy after allegations of nepotism have emerged in connection with the appointment of his son KS Harikrishnan as technical officer at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) here. Harikrishnan is a mechanical engineering graduate.
It has been alleged that the vacancy was created especially for Harikrishnan, whose appointment was allegedly fast-tracked in June. It was also alleged that previously, the degree of post-graduation in science subjects was the basic qualification for the post.
The allegations have come at a time when the state’s Left government is also facing favouritism and nepotism charges involving relatives of CPI-M leaders, with the Congress and the BJP taking the lead in levelling allegations.
Surendran was at the forefront of the campaign demanding an inquiry against Kannur University Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran for appointing Priya Varghese, wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary KK Rajesh, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Malayalam.
Youth Congress Kerala president Shafi Parambil said that the BJP and the CPI-M are equally guilty of nepotism and back-door appointments. He said the BJP had lost the moral right to campaign against nepotism in university appointments.
RGCB had invited applications for the post of technical officer, which was reserved for OBC category in December last year. The minimum eligibility criterion was B Tech with 60 per cent marks. A total of 48 candidates were chosen for the selection process. After an objective type examination in the forenoon of April 25 this year, a written examination was held in the afternoon on the same day.
After the first two rounds, Harikrishnan and three other candidates were selected for a practical (skill) examination the next day. Harikrishnan was appointed to the post in June this year after the completion of the process. The other candidates alleged they were kept in the dark by RGCB when they asked details of further proceedings after the practical examination.
The applicants allege that during the second leg of the exam, the majority of questions were from biotechnology while the qualification sought was B Tech in mechanical engineering. However, RGCB has denied the allegations and stated that Harikrishnan was appointed to the post in June this year after completing all the process.
Congress and the CPI-M have demanded a probe into the appointment of Harikrishnan as Technical Officer at RGCB. Surendran has categorically denied the allegation of favouritism and insisted that Harikrishnan got selected through a transparent and merit-based process.