MSU professor held for lacing VC chair with itching powder



Vadodara: An Associate Professor of Maharaja Sayajirao University was on Tuesday suspended after his arrest for allegedly smearing the chair of the Vice Chancellor with an itching powder in an important seminar, officials said.

The act resulted in a major embarrassment for the MSU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh, who after occupying the chair, had to leave mid-way of a UGC sponsored national seminar, following severe discomfort due to the strong effect of the powder.

The 'errant' Prof Ghanshyam Solanki, who is also the officiating Head of Department of Commerce and Mercantile Law had done the mischief, police said.

Taking strong note of the bizarre incident on Saturday, MSU's Registrar Amit Dholakia lodged a police complaint after which Solanki was arrested by police late last night.

"We have taken this very seriously and any such incident by any staff or student will not be tolerated in future," Dholakia said.

Terming it as a "shameful act" aimed to tarnish the University's image, Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh said that Solanki has been suspended after his arrest.

"A case under Section 186 (obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 290 (public nuisance) of IPC has been registered against Solanki," Fatehgunj Police Inspector A P Chaudhary said.

He had used a tropical herb mucuna pruries (locally called Kuvech) for the act. The plant is infamous for extreme itchiness it produces on contact, officials said.

A forensic examination conducted by officials established that somebody had smeared the chair (which was occupied by Vice Chancellor Singh) with an itching powder, MSU sources said.

However, Solanki told police that his target was not the VC, but the Dean of Law faculty SS Bhattacharya, with whom he wanted to settle some personal score.

Justice Sonia Gokani, of Gujarat High Court was the chief guest on the occasion and MSU VC was the chairperson at the UGC sponsored national seminar on 'Right to Education: Issues and Challenges', organised in the law faculty in Fatehgunj locality of the city.

The seminar was organised to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad, erstwhile ruler of princely Gaekwadi state of Baroda, who had founded the university.

PTI