Shevgaonkar relieved, ministry hunts for new IIT-Delhi director

The Human Resource Development has initiated process to fill up the post of the director of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi days after the government accepted R K Shevgaonkar’s resignation from the post and relieved him of his duties.

The ministry on Wednesday invited applications for the post while the process to set up a search-cum-selection committee was underway. Kshitij Gupta, a professor at the institute, is currently looking after its affairs as Acting Director after Shevgaonkar’s exit last month.

“The appointment to the post will be on contractual basis for five years or till the attainment of 70 years, whichever is earlier, as per usual terms and conditions,” the ministry said inviting applications from the candidates, who should be “preferably” below 60 years.

Shevgaonkar resigned as the director of the institute halfway into his term in December last year, amid reports that he was humiliated by HRD Minister Smriti Irani for not clearing arrears of former faculty of his institute and now a BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
The minister was also upset with him for not allowing cricketer Vijay Dahiya to open a centre of excellence for cricket at IIT Delhi campus.

President Pranab Mukherjee accepted Shevgaonkar’s resignation and relieved him of his duties on June 11 following a recommendation by the HRD Ministry. The ministry forwarded Shevgaonkar’s resignation to the President for his approval almost six months after his put his papers and kept on sending reminders to the ministry for relieving him of his duties.

Shevgaonkar’s resignation had 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 elite technical institutes and central universities.

On Shevgaonkar’s resignation, nuclear scientist and former chairperson of IIT Bombay Anil Kakodkar recently told a news channel that the 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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