IIT prof ‘hyped’ cell radiation, daughter sold protective shields

Professor Kumar, who heads the Electrical Engineering department at the university, denies conflict of interest.

Kumar, one of the 13 members of the committee, said he did not agree with the report and added that the committee was biased. Kumar, one of the 13 members of the committee, said he did not agree with the report and added that the committee was biased.
New Delhi | Updated: February 25, 2014 9:07 am

members of the committee were of the view that the information was unclear and incomplete. It said Kumar should have categorically disclosed his family’s commercial interest in companies involved in manufacturing or dealing with EMF shielding products. Members of the committee include professors from IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Roorkee and experts from ICMR, AIIMS, department of science and technology and Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, besides representatives from DoT.

“I have always maintained that removing towers is not the solution, unless one is willing to live without mobile phones,” Kumar told The Indian Express when reached for comment.

“My presentation at every forum suggests three solutions to reduce EMF hazard, if there is a cell tower near your residence/office. The first solution talks of convincing operators to reduce transmitted power and the second is on removal of the tower. The third option is given as shielding solutions.

If my first suggestion on reducing the power transmitted is implemented, there will be no need to have shielding solutions in the first place and then the company too will have to close down. So then where is the conflict of interest? Even in my emails to the committee, which included my newsletter, I had mentioned that my daughter has a company on shielding solutions.”

In the report, the committee said Kumar had circulated an email to all members, which casts aspersions and ascribes bias against them, which was strongly objected to by the members.

Most members, the report noted, were of the view that it amounted to undermining the premier institutions and disagreed with the professor’s “prejudiced stance” at the very outset.

“Kumar refused to attend and participate in the meetings of the committee, despite pursuance by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and did not attend the first meeting…The committee members have taken due note of emails dated January 14 and 15, 2014, sent by Kumar to them, where there is an attempt by Kumar to involve the judges of the high court, Allahabad, into the discussions even before finalisation of the report. All other members disassociate themselves from such activities of Kumar,” it said.

First Published on: February 25, 2014 2:11 amSingle Page Format
Do you like this story