A senior professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur is under police investigation for allegedly using the IIT campus and brand to run an institute whose courses and diplomas have no legitimacy whatsoever.
In what is perhaps the biggest scam to hit India's top engineering school, police are looking into complaints from students against aerospace engineering professor Amit Kumar Ghosh for luring them into joining the unrecognized institute, sources close to the development told HT.
"Ghosh is also facing an internal probe. For the IITs, these allegations are a massive embarrassment," a senior IIT Kharagpur administrator said.
The students in their letter to IIT Kharagpur Director, Damodar Acharya, have alleged that Ghosh ran an institute called the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) out of the Kharagpur campus, calling himself its President.
He even conducted their admission tests in his IIT office. Each student was allegedly charged a fee of Rs 27,000 for the course.
Ghosh headed the IIT Kharagpur aerospace department till August this year and was ironically also the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of the IIT till recently.
"We believed the institute was genuine because of the association of Professor Ghosh with it," says the complaint letter signed by 22 students.
"We hope you will take strong action against Professor Ghosh and force him to pay us suitable compensation."
Ghosh told HT he did not want to comment.
"There is an investigation on," he said.
But documents available with HT reveal that student admission tickets for the IEE entrance test carried the stamp of Ghosh's official seal as Professor, Aerospace Engineering, IIT Kharagpur.
The admission tickets, IEE identity cards and even the "diploma" awarded by the institute all carry Ghosh's signature as President, IEE. The signature appears identical to Ghosh's signature in independent IIT documents where he signed as CVO.
The "diploma of licentiateship" awarded by the IEE carries the false claim that the student's graduation has been recommended by the "Board of the Governors of the faculty of IIT Kharagpur" – when there is no such authority.
All IEE documents also carry the claim that the IEE is "recognized by the government of India and abroad."
Its programmes are not recognized by any government regulator, investigators said.