On June 10, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) found it “difficult to continue confidence” in Professor B K Roy as director of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, and sought disciplinary action against him.
Within three weeks, the same ministry appointed him head of the R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security with “functional autonomy in the technical, administrative and financial matters of the centre”. And on July 6, the ministry issued another order, reconfirming the charges against Roy and also his new posting.
The R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security was set up to foster fundamental as well as demand-driven “research and applications in cryptology” to provide direction and advice to the armed Forces, DRDO, police organisations and financial institutions. Now functioning from the ISI campus, it is coming up with a Rs 115-crore centre by 2016.
The ministry’s June 10 order followed a letter from Arun Shourie, chairman of the ISI council, on June 4. The standoff between Shourie and Roy came to a head when the latter reportedly refused to sign on the appointment of his successor, Professor Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, chosen by the selection committee.
In its order, the ministry noted: “A number of general and specific matters of financial and administrative irregularities which show the direct or supervisory responsibilities for acts of omission and commission on the part of the present Director Prof B Roy are available in the ministry in the various files on different subjects.”
Stripping Roy of his responsibility even before his term ended on July 31, it said, “There is justified and reasonable apprehension that the present director prof B Roy may indulge in propagation of indiscipline and mischief, including acts of administrative and financial impropriety… It is difficult to continue confidence in Prof B Roy as the director during the interregnum till the new director takes over.”
Handing over charge to the director-designate, the ministry said, “in public interest, and in public good, and to prevent indiscipline and mischief, and to prevent the eventualities of administrative or financial malfeasance, and for the good of the institute… Prof B Roy will stand divested of all administrative, financial and other powers and duties of the director with effect from the afternoon of 10 June 2015.”
But on June 30, the ministry appointed Roy head of the R C Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security, saying it was “for the good of the public. good of the RC Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security. good of the institute and to optimally use the expertise and services of Prof B Roy. without compromising on responsibility or accountability, to endeavour for positive results in future”. Incidentally, it added that Roy would enjoy “functional autonomy in the technical, administrative and financial matters of the centre”.
To counter the controversy generated by Roy’s ouster, the ministry on July 6 came out with another order justifying the appointment of his successor. The order, however, added that other directions in the June 10 and June 30 orders would also stand. In effect, Roy still faces disciplinary action while being head of the sensitive cryptology centre, pending investigation into the charges brought against him by the ministry itself.
Asked how he was given a fresh posting with financial and administrative autonomy soon after the ministry “divested” him of all such powers as ISI head, Roy said, “I do not know the answers to your questions. You may ask the ministry to respond.” Neither T C A Anant, secretary MoSPI, nor Dinesh Singh, additional secretary MoSPI, responded to e-mails and phone calls.