The Centre asked IIT Delhi’s governing body for advice on Friday to appoint an acting head for the premier engineering school, signalling an end to a protracted confrontation between the government and institute director RK Shevgaonkar.
Shevgaonkar resigned in December — two years before the end of his term — amid reports that he was pressurised to quit, while the Opposition blamed the Smriti Irani-headed human resource development (HRD) ministry for interfering in the functioning of higher education institutes.
The ministry’s latest move came after Shevgaonkar shot off a letter this week, reminding the government that June 12 will be his last day in office.
Sources said the HRD ministry asked the IIT board to look for an acting director, but it was yet to relieve Shevgaonkar of his responsibilities with his file lying with Irani.
Critics accused the ministry of shifting its position on Shevgaonkar’s resignation which, according to some media reports, came after a tiff with the department over payment of Rs 70 lakh to BJP leader and former IIT-Delhi faculty Subramanian Swamy as salary arrears.
Following his resignation in December, Shevgaonkar wrote three letters, including the latest one, requesting to be relieved of his duties so he could join IIT Bombay as a teacher.
Former higher education secretary SN Mohanty recommended that Shevgaonkar be allowed to leave on June 12 before he was transferred from the ministry this week.
Sources said while the ministry had at first hinted at irregularities on the part of Shevgaonkar in setting up an offshore IIT campus in Mauritius, it softened its stance after no evidence was found but kept sitting on the matter.