IN WHAT could spell trouble for IIM-Lucknow director Ajit Prasad, the government is learnt to have asked the institute’s Board of Governors (BoG) to examine complaints of administrative and financial irregularities against him. In a letter dispatched to N Chandrashekharan, chairman of Tata Sons and IIM-Lucknow, this week, the HRD Ministry has asked him to place before the BoG the observations of two-member audit committee, which had looked at the complaints against Prasad, for a final decision.
The two-member committee was set up on December 14, 2017, by higher education secretary KK Sharma, who was also the acting chairperson of IIM Lucknow at that time. According to sources, the committee has not recommended any action against Prasad, which is why the government has advised the institute’s Board to take a call, either way, on the observations made in the report.
Ever since the enactment of the IIM Act, the Board of every IIM is empowered to appoint and remove its own chairperson and director. Hence, any action on the complaints against a director is now within the remit of the IIM Board. Among the complaints against Prasad is the allegation that he purchased a vehicle without following government norms and that he also purchased reclining chairs worth Rs 14 lakh without prior approval of the Board.
That apart, the wife of a professor from the institute had approached the Prime Minister’s Office alleging harassment by Prasad and his interference in family matters. The complainant had pointed out that the director had asked her husband to undergo psychiatric evaluation on a number of issues, including “marital resilience” and his ability to bond with his peers, at a recognised hospital.
Prasad, who was a professor of strategy at SP Jain Institute of of Management and Research, Mumbai, was appointed as the head of IIM-Lucknow in October, 2015, for a five-year term.