The High Court yesterday issued a rule asking why inaction on the corruption charges against Rajshahi University's(RU) former Vice Chancellor Professor M Abdus Sobhan ought not to be considered illegal.
At the same time, the court suspended the appointment of 138 persons for three months, as they were illegally recruited by the VC on the last working day of his tenure.
The court ordered those concerned, including the Education Secretary and the University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman, to respond to the rule within four weeks.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after hearing on a public interest writ petition.
The writ petition was filed by Architect Mobassher Hossain on behalf of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) on 31 August.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua appeared for the petitioner, while Deputy Attorney General Nowroz Md Rasel Chowdhury represented the state.
The writ petition sought directives on halting the recruitment process of those illegally appointed by Prof Sobhan as well as taking action on the corruption charges against him.
Allegations against the vice chancellor
In his first tenure, Prof Sobhan appointed 330 teachers and 595 staff. He ended his first stint in 2013 without facing major allegations even though the handpicked appointments raised questions.
After assuming office for the second time in 2017, he had already appointed 52 teachers and 191 staff.
On 6 May, the last day of Prof Sobhan's tenure, he cleared the appointments of 141 teachers and staff on an ad-hoc basis, despite a University Grants Commission (UGC) embargo on RU appointments enforced in October last year.
On the same day, clashes broke out between different groups, including several factions of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, at the RU campus over the recruitments.
In the afternoon of the same day, the Ministry of Education declared the recruitment of the 141 people illegal and formed a four-member inquiry committee headed by UGC Senior Member Prof Muhammad Alamgir.
Earlier, VC Sobhan illegally amended the recruitment policy of the university and recruited 34 teachers including his son-in-law. Declaring these appointments as illegal, the inquiry committee recommended the cancellation of 175 appointments.
The committee was also asked to identify everyone involved in the illegal recruitment and make recommendations, within seven days, on what action could be taken against them.
The investigation report said Prof Sobhan was proven to be directly involved in the recruitment of a deputy registrar, and two assistant registrars, as well as illegally recruiting his son-in-law.