HRD ministry backs whistleblower IIT professor

  • Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 29, 2015 23:54 IST

A computer science professor at IIT Kharagpur suspended from the institute on charges of maligning the reputation of the institute four years ago has received backing from the HRD ministry which has pointed out several discrepancies in the inquiry conducted by the IIT.

Professor Rajiv Kumar, called an “unsung hero” by the Supreme Court for forcing IITs to introduce transparency in their entrance examination in recent years, had appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee against biased inquiry and denial of natural justice.

The ministry looking into the Kumar’s appeal forwarded by the President has not only pointed out procedural lapses in the conduct of the inquiry, it has also questioned the inquiry report which it said was badly framed.

Ministry’s review of the appeal will soon be forwarded to the President who will take the final call.

Kumar was suspended in May 2011 on charges of “irreparably damaging the reputation of the institute by deliberate misrepresentation of facts of irregular purchase and financial fraud regarding laptop purchase.”

Another charge levelled against Kumar included damaging the reputation of the institute by levelling charges of irregularity in the conduct of entrance examination by the IIT. A one-man inquiry committee in its report submitted to the IIT in 2013 had proposed compulsory retirement for the professor.

Kumar however had contested the allegations and termed the inquiry biased saying he was being targeted for being a whistle blower.

Kumar’s PIL had brought about systemic reforms in the IITs and his role was acknowledged by the SC which had called him “unsung hero”.

It was Kumar’s PIL that forced IITs to provide carbon copies of answer scripts, release of answer keys before results, online availability of evaluated scanned scripts among others.

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