Police have arrested a senior Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur professor who used the IIT brand and campus to run a fraudulent institution duping poor students, a scam exposed by HT first on October 19.
Investigators plan to grill Amit Kumar Ghosh, an aerospace engineering professor at IIT Kharagpur and the institute’s chief vigilance officer, to get details of others involved in the scam, police sources said.
The arrest comes even as the HRD ministry on Tuesday set up a three-member panel to probe the scam. The panel will submit its report to the ministry within four weeks.
Ghosh, who sources said was picked up by the police from his residence on Monday night, is the first IIT professor to have been arrested on criminal charges, institute sources said. But several other faculty members — past and present — and senior IIT administrators are also under the police scanner, investigative sources confirmed.
That Ghosh used his official IIT stamp and office to dupe students into joining the fake Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), has led the police to conclude the involvement of other IIT administrators and faculty.
The IIT has accepted that it was alerted in 2007 about the fake institute, but did not in turn alert the police, effectively allowing the scam to continue. From 2004 to 2007, the fake institute was allotted official quarters in the IIT. "It is hard to imagine that the operations were conducted from within the IIT for so many years without the knowledge of senior administrators," a police source said.
Documents with police indicate the involvement of J Pal, current head of department of the electrical engineering department at IIT Kharagpur, SK Lahiri, former deputy director of the IIT and YP Singh, former head of the electrical engineering department, sources said. Ghosh has named former IIT Directors — Kasturi Lal Chopra and Shishir Dube — as complicit in the scam. Chopra and Dube have denied the charges.