In what has come as a snub to the Smriti Irani-led Human Resource Development Ministry, nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar did not attend the meeting of the selection committee to conduct repeat interviews of candidates on Sunday to pick directors of three Indian Institutes of Technology.
The panel, however, went ahead and zeroed down on three names, which have been forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Kakodkar, a member of the selection committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the IIT Council (SCIC), had resigned as chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT-Bombay on March 12, following a “disagreement” over the selection of an IIT director. After his resignation, the HRD Ministry reached out to him, saying his resignation had not been accepted and that it was “glad” that he had agreed to withdraw his resignation.
The selection committee, chaired by Irani, had reached a consensus on the choice of directors for IIT-Patna and Bhubaneswar but there was no agreement on IIT-Ropar, and the process involving 12 candidates was later cancelled. All 37 in the original short-list were then called for a new round of interviews on March 22.
According to sources, several other members of the selection panel had also expressed unhappiness over the ministry’s decision to re-start the entire process . Three other members of the selection panel — Lila Poonawala, M S Ananth and H M Nerurkar — did not attend Sunday’s round of interviews.
Kakodkar was earlier chairman of an 11-member committee constituted by the HRD ministry in 2010 to “recommend autonomy measures to facilitate IITs to scale greater heights”. He could not be reached for comments.