IIT Delhi director RK Shevgaonkar has asked the central government to relieve him of his duties so he can join IIT Bombay as a teacher, while the HRD ministry has been sitting on a resignation letter he sent nearly five months ago, sources said.
Shevgaonkar stepped down 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 the technical institutes.
Before writing to the ministry this month, he asked the department earlier this year to treat his December letter as three months’ notice.
The HRD ministry has been 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.
In his most recent mail, Shevgaonkar argued that his March letter be considered as notice because his December correspondence was overlooked.
The IIT governing body has forwarded Shevgaonkar’s letter to the HRD ministry and asked it to relieve him of his responsibilities, assign a temporary director and launch the process of a fresh appointment.
Sources said the letter and the governing body’s recommendations sent to higher education secretary S Mohanty will be handed over to Irani, who will make the final decision.
Denying the accusation that there was pressure on him to pay Swamy his dues, the ministry had at first hinted at irregularities on part of Shevgaonkar in setting up an offshore IIT campus in Mauritius, officials said.
After no charges were found against the IIT director, the ministry softened its stance and indicated the stalemate could be resolved by allowing Shevgaonkar to join IIT Bombay as a faculty member.
However, it kept sitting on the matter, forcing Shevgaonkar to write again, sources said.