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CSIR sacks scientists for unprofessional conduct

Last updated: 09 November, 2009
Kalyan Ray , New Delhi, Nov 8, DHNS 1:01 IST

Confidential documents leaked in violation of service rule

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Researchs (CSIR) ambitious plan to create an in-house firm for marketing its own technologies is in rough waters following the removal of two scientists chosen to pilot the venture.

The duo was sacked on November 5 following “unprofessional conduct” and for leaking out confidential documents in violation of service rules.

V A Shiva Ayyadurai, a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Deepak Sardana, who worked as consultant for CSIR, were chosen to pilot the new company –– CSIR Tech.

The Union Cabinet had given its approval for establishing the new firm in January 2009.
Shiva met CSIR director general Samir K Brahmachari in June. Impressed by his credentials, Brahmachari decided to retain the MIT graduate under a new scheme “Scientists and Technologist of Indian Origin (STIO)”.

Brahmachari’s idea was to eventually appoint Shiva as the CEO of CSIR-Tech when the company is finally set up.

Since STIO recruitment takes time –– approval from higher authorities as well as medical and Intelligence Bureau (IB) clearances are required –– Shiva was offered a temporary job as a business development consultant with Rs 1 lakh salary. The MIT-trained researcher accepted the offer and joined CSIR as a consultant.

Documents available with Deccan Herald show that the organisation relaxed its internal norms to arrange an accommodation for Shiva. Also in the accommodation letter they mistakenly mentioned that Shiva had been selected and appointed as an STIO.
Actually Shiva was only “offered” the STIO position. He was never appointed as he did not agree to the terms and conditions, did not have its medical and IB clearance and an Indian work permit required for a full-time job.

The STIO offer was withdrawn in October due to Shiva’s demand of an “unreasonable financial package.”

But, meanwhile, as a consultant on CSIR Tech, he had met a number of scientists in the last four months and finally prepared a report controversial titled “CSIR-Tech: Path Forward.” The report stirred a hornet’s nest.

In the 42-page document Shiva and Sardana described Brahmachari as the “director general who believes he knows all even though he has minimal depth of information and domain knowledge.”

The duo accused Brahmachari of “maintaining a close coterie of sycophants, mostly incompetent” and not allowing the opposition views for any debate. The report –– mailed to almost 4000 CSIR scientists accessing a proprietary database the duo was not authorised to use –– literally stirred the entire organisation from Kashmir to
Kanyakumari.

Almost all CSIR laboratories came down heavily on the two newcomers with six months experience for denigrating the 67-year old organisation and its chief. South African consultant Ian Dean, who was quoted in the report, readily distanced himself from the document and deplored “the attack on director general and headquarters staff.” A senior CSIR scientist in Pune described it as a “slanderous report written with a malicious intention to discredit the CSIR leadership.”

Another scientist in Jammu accused Shiva of making “unsubstantiated and frivolous charges.” But a third senior CSIR scientist in Palampur opined that such behaviour “cannot be tolerated in any set up in India or in a multinational corporation.” He also alleged Shiva had personal motives rather than realising the CSIR-Tech vision. However, Shiva and Sardana claimed they were victimised because of their critical report.

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