"With regards to his relationship with Dr Gurmeet Singh, VPA [Dilawar Grewal] mentioned that his family had a family relationship with Gurmeet and his family. He further mentioned that when on a weekend he felt like eating Parathas, he would call Gurmeet and go over to his house for breakfast. Hence, it was inappropriate for VC&P [Rajesh Chandra] to ask him to cease his relationship with Gurmeet and his family. To which the VC&P responded that to keep his trust VPA would have to stop being friends with Gurmeet because he was perceived to be a “conduit” to Dr Biman Prasad. VPA responded that he did not have a problem not talking to Dr Prasad but cannot not talk to Dr Gurmeet Singh as he was a friend. VC&P then stated that the choice was VPAs but if he wanted to keep his trust, then his (VPAs)relationship with Dr Biman Prasad would make this very difficult. VPA responded that he fully understood VC&P’s concern about his relationship with Dr Biman Prasad and would discontinue talking to him."
The position would oversee the areas of Policy & Planning, Quality, Institutional Research & Data, Human Resources, ITS, Japan-Pacific ICT Centre & Regional ICT Outreach, Libraries and USP Commercial. After his appointment Grewal said he was very excited at this opportunity as these were progressive times of change at USP and the region. “I am honoured to be invited to become a part of and to contribute towards this change. Within and beyond USP, I feel a personal affinity to the peoples of the Pacific and ardently believe that I can make positive contributions to their lives and enrich those of my family and mine through interactions.”
Probation Review Meeting - Crunch Time with focus on Fijileaks
On 24 May 2015, Grewal appeared before Chandra for the review of his contract. The meeting was held in the Cahnellery Boardroom at 3pm. Agnes Kotoisuva, the then Manager Human Resources Operations and Administrative Services, wrote down the minutes. The minutes of the meeting obtained by Fijileaks reveal Chandra began by reminding Grewal about SMT Confidentiality and cohesiveness: "VC&P [Chandra] stated that one of the most important principles of SMT was confidentiality and cohesiveness. He said there should be no leakage whether intentionally or unintentionally outside of SMT on matters already discussed and agreed to in meetings. VC&P mentioned that in the 2013 VOICE Survey, SMT had come out looking bad and he did not want to see a repeat of this."
In response, Grewal stated that taking into account these issues he was willing to sign off on a confidentiality agreement. Chandra informed Grewal that he had received a letter of complaint against him [Chandra] which had also appeared on Fijileaks and he suspected there was a leak in SMT. Grewal responded that he had not seen the letter and asked Chandra for a copy but he declined.
Dr Giulio Masasso Paunga, Vice-President—Regional Campuses and Properties and Facilities
Chandra stated that the letter had raised the issue of two senior SMT members threatening to leave, one of them of Tongan origin. The implication was that there was unhappiness and lack of cohesion with SMT. According to Kotoisuva's minute: "VC&P said he had asked Dr Paunga as he was the only SMT of Tongan origin but he denied ever making such a statement." Chandra further stated that the letter of complaint had been copied to Dr Biman Prasad, other MPs, Ministers and even Bainimarama.
In this regard, Chandra expressed his concern about Grewal's relationship with Dr Gurmeet Singh, the Associate Professor, Coordinator Post Graduate Program, School of Management and Public Administration and Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Affairs, Faculty of Business and Economics at USP.
Chandra claimed that Singh "was known to be a close friend of Dr Biman Prasad and as such placing him (VPA) in a difficult situation GIVEN Dr Biman’s position as the leader of the NFP and a member of Parliament."
Grewal unequivocally stated that he had nothing to do with the letter or any “facts” that may have been passed onto others, including Prasad. Grewal, according to the minute: "He (VPA, Grewal) stated that he does not discuss confidential or SMT matters with either Dr Biman Prasad or Dr Gurmeet Singh."
The Paratha Warning: Bite and Walk Away from NFP leader Biman Prasad
With regards to his relationship with Singh, Grewal mentioned that his family had a family relationship with the Singh family. He further mentioned that when on a weekend he felt like eating Parathas, he would call Singh and go over to his house for breakfast. "Hence, it was inappropriate for VC&P to ask him to cease his relationship with Gurmeet and his family."
To which Chandra responded that to keep his trust Grewal would have to stop being friends with Singh because he was perceived to be a “conduit” to NFP leader Prasad .
Grewal responded that he did not have a problem not talking to Prasad but cannot not talk to Singh as he was a friend. Chandra then stated that the choice was Grewal's but if he wanted to keep his trust, then his (Grewal's) relationship with Prasad would make this very difficult. Grewal responded that he fully understood Chandra's concern about his relationship with Prasad and would discontinue talking to him.
Chandra stated that he was not going to approve or disapprove Grewal's relationships with individuals but he (Grewal) needed to choose his friends and associates with this in mind. Chandra further stated that he (Grewal) would find out that in the Pacific, "if one asked for too many things, one would become the centre of attraction and right now MQ52 had become a ‘lightening rod’."
Mahendra Reddy smells "Paratha" ultimatum - calls Grewal
E-mail exchanges between various parties (Fijileaks is holding them back) reveal that on 23 June 2015 Reddy called Grewal and expressed his surprise that Chandra was imposing conditions and threatening to terminate his (Grewal's contract). Reddy assured Grewal that he was going to speak to Chandra - for it was unacceptable that Grewal "can't eat Parathas at Singh's house" - that was not in Grewal's employment contract.
Chandra's demand smacked of BLACKMAIL.
Fijileaks: We will reveal more e-mails later. As we stated earlier, Rajesh Chandra is yet to respond to our questions. In the follow up meeting held on Monday 22nd June 2015 at 4.30pm, while confirming the minutes, Chandra disputed a sentence and got replaced with as follows: ‘VC&P stated that he was not going to approve or disapprove VPA’s relationships with individuals but he(VPA) needed to choose his friends and associates with the responsibilities of SMT and the need to keep the VC&P confidences in mind.'