The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, is pressurising faculty to purchase official laptops at 35-50% higher rates than the market price, thus causing a financial loss to the exchequer.
Internal correspondence between faculty and administrators accessed by HT shows that IIT administrators denied faculty the option of purchasing laptops directly, even after they were alerted that the listed rates were vastly exaggerated.
A Dell laptop purchased directly costs Rs79, 000, but the same laptop will cost of Rs1,07,120 — a jump of 36% — when bought at institute-listed rate. With as many as 470 faculty members on the rolls, the buy at the exaggerated rates could cost about Rs15 million loss. Teachers at the institute can seek laptops for either their projects or under any of the several government schemes.
But top administrators —including the Dean of the Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) and officials in charge of purchase in the computer science department have allegedly ignored requests from faculty to probe the “scam”.
The correspondence shows the IIT administration had asked senior computer science professor Rajeev Kumar to either purchase the laptop under the institute rates, or not purchase it at all. “We are only insisting that institute-determined rates are followed in the purchase. The institute rates are official, those obtained by individual faculty members are not,” an administrator said.
But he could not explain why the IIT has not bothered to review its rates even after officials were alerted that the rates were inflated.
Notice to IIT registrar
The Central Information Commisison on Saturday issued a show-cause notice to IIT Kharagpur registrar TK Ghoshal after concluding that he lied in denying information under the RTI Act to computer science professor Rajeev Kumar. The CIC has asked Ghoshal to explain why he ought not to be face disciplinary action.