UGC too weighs in against appointment of wife of Vijayan’s secretary

Bad times continue for Priya Varghese, the wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s secretary K.K. Ragesh. On Wednesday the University Grants Commission informed the Kerala High Court that the three-year leave she took to do her PhD cannot be counted as teaching experience.

The case pertains to her appointment as Associate Professor in the Malayalam department of Kannur University, which has been challenged in the court by the second ranked candidate.

Early this month the court asked the UGC to implead in the case and had posted the case for Wednesday.

This has come as a huge setback for Priya and all the Left leaders who have been arguing that she has all the qualifications for the job.

On Wednesday in the court, the counsel for UGC orally pointed out that the period of three years that she took to do her PhD cannot be counted as teaching experience.

The court which had early this month stayed her appointment, extended the stay till September 30 and asked the UGC and Kannur University to file their affidavits.

It was Governor Arif Mohammed Khan who first got into the act when earlier this month he held back the appointment of Priya and then came the Kerala High Court directive.

It was in June that Kannur University cleared the appointment of Priya but till date, it has not issued the appointment letter.

The media labelled the appointment as an act of favouritism, and an RTI application revealed that all was not above board.

The RTI query revealed that she got the maximum marks (32 out of 50) in the personal interview, while the second-ranked candidate Jacob Skariah scored 30, but her research score was a mere 156, while the second-ranked candidate secured 651. However, she was ranked first based on the personal interview.

Skariah approached the high court, contending that he was sidelined.

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