The director of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has quit amid a slew of allegations ranging from questions over the legality of his appointment to lingering charges of caste bias and corruption under his administration.
Chemical engineer MS Ananth has submitted his resignation to the human resource development (HRD) ministry, over a year before his current term as IIT Madras director ends, top government officials confirmed to HT.
He has been asked to stay in office till July, while the government looks for a replacement.
Ananth is the first IIT director to quit mid-term under a cloud, though he is understood to have resigned on his own and is also credited by many as an innovator.
He started the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) - based on the open source leaning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - which allows students anywhere access to recorded IIT lectures in several subjects.
But Ananth is also the first -and only - IIT director whose appointment was struck down legally.
The Madras high court in December 2008 concluded that the government had violated law in reappointing him for a second term the previous year.
A division bench stayed the decision against Ananth, but his second term - which started in July 2007 - only brought more controversy.
An IIT Madras alumnus, Dr E Muralidharan, accused Ananth of caste bias in denying him a teaching post.
Ananth and the IIT administration were accused of caste discrimination during his first term - from 2001 to 2007 - as well.
The administration under Ananth also faces serious allegations of squandering public money from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which is currently probing the charges, sources said.