Three weeks after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided the premises of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in SAS Nagar and registered a case against its officiating director KK Bhutani and seven others for allegedly causing a loss of crores of rupees to the government exchequer, the union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers has issued retirement orders for Bhutani (64) and three other officials on the ground that they were continuing in service beyond the permissible age of 60 years. Prof KPR Kartha, Prof AK Chakraborti and Dr PP Singh have also been issued the orders and all are above 60.
Wing Cdr PJP Singh Waraich (retd), registrar, NIPER, said, “We (the NIPER institute) have received an official confirmation from the ministry to retire these officials. The process will be followed.”
He added that of the four issued the orders, three were on leave and the letters would be handed over once they rejoined duty.
“Prof Bhutani is on leave, he will be handed over the retirement letter the day he joins. He will officially hand over the charge to a new officiating director,” Waraich added, clarifying that the four officials had not been suspended, but had been given retirement from service.
Instructions from the union ministry said the charge of the officiating director will be given to the senior-most faculty and that at present is Professor Saranjit Singh.
When contacted, Prof KK Bhutani said, “I have not received any such communication. I will join office on Tuesday.” The others three faculty members were not available for comment.
‘Appointment letters state wrong retirement age’
Interestingly, the institute that comes under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers has to have employees retiring at 60, yet there are many employees who continue in service.
“All staff members at the institute have been given appointment letters with retirement age mentioned wrongly as 62. In Bhutani’s case, the institute went ahead and made an exception. He was allowed to continue in service despite being more than 62 years of age,” said an employee, on the condition of anonymity.
He added that in 2013, months before Bhutani was to retire at 62, the board of governors of the institute increased the retirement age to 65 years. “The 2013 decision was implemented even as under the NIPER Act states any change its governing provisions needed the assent of the President of India,” the employee claimed.
Finally, this week the ministry issued the orders that fixed the retirement age at 60.