HRD to relieve IIT director, asks names for replacement

The Human Resource Development Ministry has asked chairman of the Indian Institute Technology-Delhi Vijay Bhatkar to suggest names for appointing acting director of the institute by Monday, in a clear indication that R K Shevgaonkar would soon be relieved of his duties as the director.

The HRD Ministry wrote to Bhatkar on Friday, asking him to suggest names for an acting director as IIT-Delhi’s deputy director has gone abroad for the next couple of months. The senior most dean of the institute is also abroad, IIT sources told Deccan Herald.

The ministry has agreed to relieve Shevgaonkar from his duties almost six months after he resigned from the post midway in his term, amid reports that he was humiliated by the HRD Minister Smriti Irani for not clearing the arrears of Subramanian  Swamy, a former faculty member and now a BJP leader.

As the ministry did not take any decision on his resignation, Shevgaonkar sent a reminder to the HRD Ministry in April, requesting that he may be relieved from the date of his reminder letter so that he could join IIT-Bombay as a teacher. He had also urged the ministry to treat his reminder letter as three months’ notice period.

According to sources, the Ministry will send its recommendation to President Pranab Mukherkee for relieving the IIT director once it receives names from the institute's chairman for handing over Shevgaonkar's charge to an acting director.

Sources said Higher Education Secretary Satyanarayan Mohanty has recommended that he should be relieved of his duties, sources said.

Shevgaonkar's resignation sparked a major controversy in political and academic circles. Opposition leaders made an issue out of the episode during the Budget Session of Parliament and used it to accuse the HRD Minister of interfering with the autonomy of premier technical institutes and central universities.

Speaking on Shevgaonkar's resignation episode, nuclear scientist and former chairperson of IIT-Bombay Anil Kakodkar recently told a news channel that IIT-Delhi director was a respected academic whose self-respect was "severely hurt" and that he should be allowed to exit honourably.

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