Kashmir University data breach: Rotation policy violated to keep IT Head, claims report

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After a major alleged data breach at the University if Kashmir (KU), the professors at the varsity accuse the administration of brazenly overlooking the rotation policy to allow continuation of the in-charge IT Director, reported Kashmir News Observer.

During the ongoing probe into alleged data breach involving more than one million students and employees on dark web, several university members have raised the issue of non-rotation of incharge Director IT Maroof Qadri alleging it will hamper smooth probe into the serious issue.

Qadri was made incharge IT Director, then Scientist B, in 2016 by former Vice Chancellor Khurshid Andrabi “till further orders”.

He continues to hold the position for the last more than six years allegedly in gross violation of Three Year Rotation Policy for all Heads Of Departments, Directors and Coordinators, reported the local news agency.

“Even Vice Chancellors have a fixed term of three or five years after which they are changed. Why Director IT has not been changed? It has raised eyebrows in the context of veracity of data probe,” said a KU teacher, wishing anonymity.

“This illegal continuation of one particular official without rotation for six years has created sense of indispensability in the university’s IT operations system because of which there has been no accountability in the IT operations which has led to alleged data breach,” the teacher added.

The CERT-In, an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India, has sought a report from the KU Vice Chancellor regarding the alleged data breach. The VC has, on her part, constituted a committee to inquire into the matter and submit a report.

“The Committee has sought a report from In-Charge Director IT about the data breach. It is a futile exercise in absence of a third party evaluation. An accused cannot give a clean chit to himself and blame others for his own fault,” said another teacher privy to the data breach issue at the KU.

The alleged overlooking of rules to rotate incharge Director IT has led to accusations that favouritism was prevalent in the university under the nose of the authorities who were dragging feet on the issue of filing up the post of Director IT to proper advertisement.

Insiders say the VC should inquire into why the post is not being properly advertised and how one particular director is allowed to continue without rotation for six long years.

“The In-Charge IT Director should first be removed to pave the way for a fair inquiry into the matter by a third party. Otherwise this serious issue will be brushed under the carpet if accused officials are allowed to act as judge, jury and hangman all by themselves,” one of the teachers said.

It is also alleged that serious allegations against the incharge IT Director related to his B.E degree, payment of hefty amount of 18 lakh rupees as medical reimbursement against his late mother’s treatment outside J-K by showing her as dependent falsely and award of Ph.D degree to him, have come under scanner of the investigating agencies.

However, it is alleged that owing to his alleged proximity and personal relation with university authorities, the allegations were brushed aside from time to time.

The university stake-holders have demanded a probe into all allegations and rotation issues so that a fair probe takes place in the data breach issue.

Top officials of the varsity informed KNO, “The matter in this regard is sub-judice and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has asked the varsity to maintain the status-quo.”

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