The Centre may soon crack the whip on IIT Kharagpur for disregarding the Central Vigilance Commissions order to act against three professors for their involvement in a scam.
The HRD ministry is weighing several options,including action against the entire board of governors,and is set to summon the institutes director over the issue.
The CVC had sought action against professors A K Bhowmick,director of IIT Patna; P P Chakraborty,the IITs dean; and R N Banerjee,Director Select; for their role in the so called coal-net scam,involving computerisation of Coal India and its subsidiaries between 2001 and 2004.
The IIT did not act against them and instead told the Delhi high court,in an affidavit filed in response to a case brought by whistle-blower Prof Rajeev Kumar,that since it was an autonomous institute,the CVC had no jurisdiction. If that wasnt enough,the IIT upset the ministry by filing the affidavit without consulting it.
Whether the IITs argument convinces the court remains to be seen but it clearly hasnt cut much ice with the ministry. The IIT,the ministry has pointed out,gets substantive grants,about Rs 300 crore,from the Centre and falls within the jurisdiction of the CVC. Besides,being an autonomous institute,it is even more imperative that the IIT encourage transparency of processes,the ministry has said.
Its embarrassing affidavit is not the first time the IIT has irked the Centre. The HRD ministry recently directed the IIT to revoke the suspension of Prof Rajeev Kumar,as advised by the CVC,but it is yet to do so. Prof Kumar was suspended in May 2011 for,among other charges,maligning and misrepresenting the IIT.