IIT Delhi director quits over demand for Sachin's academy, Swamy's salary dues

IIT Delhi director quits over demand for Sachin's academy, Swamy's salary dues

IIT Delhi Director Raghunath K S Shevgaonkar has resigned with more than two years of his tenure left amid a controversy over alleged pressure by the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry on him.

The HRD Ministry denied that it had put pressure on Shevgaonkar on issues relating to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy that made him quit.

Shevgaonkar sent his resignation in a letter to Chairman of IIT Board of Governors Vijay P Bhatkar on Friday evening in which he cited "personal reasons".

"I have resigned, that's it," was all that Shevgaonkar would say today when he was confronted by reporters after a controversy erupted in which cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was also dragged.

The HRD Ministry denied a media report that said Shevgaonkar resigned after he was allegedly put under pressure from the HRD Ministry to accede to two demands--to provide the IIT ground for a cricket academy Tendulkar allegedly wants to open and to pay nearly Rs 70 lakh to Swamy, a former IIT-D faculty member, as his "salary dues" between 1972 and 1981.

The Ministry issued the rejoinder afer HRD Minister Smriti Irani convened a meeting of her officials in the wake of the resignation of the IIT-D Director.

The news report that said Shevgaonkar resigned resisting pressure is "factually inaccurate and incorrect" and unnecessarily drags the HRD Ministry into the issue where no direction has been issued by the Ministry, a ministry statement said.

"There is neither any request from Sachin Tendulkar for the ground of IIT for running a Cricket Academy nor any instruction from HRD Ministry to provide the same.

The HRD Ministry has neither forwarded Subramanian Swamy's request to IIT-Delhi nor given any direction to make payment of arrears to Swamy. Views of DoPT and Finance Ministry have been sought on the matter," the statement said.

Tendulkar took to Twitter to express his anguish on his name being dragged in the controversy.

"I am appalled to read the stories that suggest some land has been asked from IIT-D for academy in my name," he said.

"I have not even planned any academy neither do I want any piece of land for any purpose.

Wish that basic facts are checked from me before publishing such fiction using my name," he said in a couple of more tweets," he said.

Swamy expressed shock over the issue of his dues being linked to the resignation of Shevgaonkar, saying it is a matter between the Government and the Board of Directors.
"The Director doesn't come into the picture at all," he said, adding that the matter is before a court.

Swamy alleged that the resignation was not over the alleged demand by HRD Ministry to settle his dues but had to do something with setting up IIT Delhi campus in Mauritius over which an "explanation' has been sought from him.

Bhatkar said he was unaware of any pressure exerted upon Shevgaonkar, who became the IIT Director in 2011.

"Prof Shevgaonkar has cited personal reasons for resigning. He told me that he has been away from his family in Mumbai for more than three years and wanted to return to IIT Bombay to be with them," Bhatkar, an eminent scientist himself, told PTI.

As far as opening the campus is Mauritius is concerned, he said the decision had the approval of the Government and an MoU was also signed in this regard with the involvement of the then HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju in 2013.

He said the decision was also brought before the IIT-D Board of Governors for approval.

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