Published: 27th December 2019
JNU profs claim 'right' candidate with plagiarism in PhD could be hired in East Asian Studies dept
A senior faculty member of the centre on condition of anonymity said that this has become rampant and that he suspects the Vice-Chancellor wants to bring in "his people rather than qualified teachers"
While the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University are busy protesting against fee hikes and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, their teachers claim to be fighting another battle against "illegal appointments bypassing the system". After a controversy with Saurabh Sharma's appointment to the Computer Science Department, it is now the professors of the Centre of East Asian Studies who are complaining that a certain Dr Sudhakar Vaddi's name was included in the shortlisted candidates' list forcefully, sources said. Sudhakar, who claimed to have no inkling of the matter, said that he is being singled out and targetted because of "personal vendetta". He also alleged that not just him but around 20 students have been the victim of such vindictive behaviour.
A senior faculty member of the Centre, on condition of anonymity, said that this has become rampant and that he suspects the Vice-Chancellor wants to bring in "his people rather than qualified teachers". "Sudhakar Vaddi doesn’t fulfil the desired qualification set by the Centre of East Asian Studies and advertised in the JNU website for the post of an Assistant Professor for Korean Studies. He has been called for the interview though his name wasn’t shortlisted by the Centre-level screening process," he added. Sudhakar argued that the minimum qualification for the post was a masters degree, not a PhD.
We spoke with Sudhakar right before he went in for the interview and he had no knowledge that he was the centre of discussion of a section of professors at the Centre and across the varsity. "I have no knowledge of this. My name came up in the list and today I am here to appear for the interview," said Sudhakar."If they won't accept any PhD if not from this centre, in particular, they might as well mention that. I have lost four years because of this vindictive politics of the professor. It's not just me. There were 20 other students who have faced the same. I was one of the first of the victims and I suffer from hypertension and epileptic fits because of the mentally taxing experience," he added.
Sources in the department later confirmed that Sudhakar, allegedly a "ministerial candidate", has probably been confirmed for the post. Sudhakar has been known to be close to various BJP top officials and apparently boasts of it. The source said that top officials said that the administration allegedly got calls from top guns in the government with regards to this appointment. The official announcement of the appointment has not been made yet. Sudhakar, an ace badminton player and has participated in various tournaments including the fourth edition of the MPs National Badminton Championship and that's how he ended up playing with some of the Ministers and MPs. "But that does not mean I am friends with them or they endorse me. I regularly write to left-leaning publication. How can you brand me as right-wing? I am neither left nor right," said Sudhakar.
But what was the qualification that Sudhakar did not have? After all, he has written about Korean politics in various platforms. "In total there were 24 applicants for the Assistant Professors position (general category) in CEAS/SIS, among them only five met the essential and desired qualifications advertised — extensive work on Korean studies and PhD in Korean Studies respectively. The sixth candidate, Sudhakar, who doesn’t have a PhD in Korean Studies, has been added without any notice to the members of the screening committee. There were other candidates with PhD degrees in other disciplines, but they are not called for an interview set for December 27," said a member of the screening committee. The administration, he added, had sent back the list of recommended five for reconsideration. "But we decided not to change the list as it did not make sense to have someone who did not study Korean Studies specifically to teach it," he added.
Sudhakar is an Assistant Professor at GD Goenka University in Gurugram and has been an MPhil student at the Centre of East Asian Studies at JNU. But his history there is not very clean, claims senior professors of the Centre.
The professors alleged that Sudhakar has plagiarised parts of his PhD proposal and his MPhil dissertation, “From Containment to Engagement: Changing Pattern in Inter-Korean Engagement, 1998-2004”, had portions which were plagiarised, as was his PhD Proposal. "I could point out some parts have been completely copied from S Kim's Inter-Korean Relations: Problems and Prospects and a paper titles A Geostrategy for Eurasia, published in the US journal, Foreign Affairs," said the professor. "When this was pointed out, he preferred to quit CEAS, and joined the Centre for Comparative Politics, where he finished his PhD," he said.
JNUTA Secretary, Surajit Mazumdar said that they have received reports that there were irregularities in the CEAS appointment process. "The University Administration has once again added a name to the shortlisted candidates that had not been approved by the Centre level screening committee as the candidate concerned did not meet the essential qualifications advertised. JNUTA is of the opinion that these irregularities in the appointment process should be inquired into by the UGC, MHRD and the Visitor," he added.