Kharagpur, March 3: A research scholar at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here has been arrested for sexually abusing children on the campus.
The campus was on the boil after last night's arrest of Iqbal Mohammad, who arrived at the institute in July, by Kharagpur Town police.
'We have expelled him after his arrest on charges of sexually harassing minor boys,' said IIT director S.K. Dubey. 'The disclosure came as a shock to us.'
This is the second time in three months that the institute has got embroiled in a sex scandal. In December, an MSc student, Ravi Raj, was arrested by Delhi police for selling on the Internet an MMS clip showing a sexual act between two students of a school in the capital.
Mohammad would carefully pick his prey, mostly sons of low-level IIT employees, lure them to his room at Zakir Hussain Hall and force them to have sex with him, said Ajay Nand, superintendent of police, West Midnapore.
He used chocolates and biscuits as baits to lure the children into his room, he added.
Mohammad is married and is a lecturer at a college in Malappuram in Kerala. He completed his M.Tech from Kerala and joined IIT on lien in July to complete his doctoral study.
Police said they had seized a small digital camera, a computer and a mobile phone from his room. 'We are holding an inquiry to find out more details of the sex racket,' Nand said.
Some boarders were suspicious of a few boys' unnatural attachment to the research scholar. 'Initially, we didn't suspect anything. But one day, we noticed a 10-year-old boy coming out of Mohammad's room weeping. The boy did not tell us anything when we asked him why he was crying. But the incident made us doubly suspicious and we started keeping a close vigil on the activities of Mohammad and the boys close to him,' a boarder at Zakir Hussain Hall said.
The vigil paid off last night when some boarders caught Mohammad red-handed in the middle of a sexual act with a minor boy. They handed him over to the security on the campus. Later, police were informed and the scholar was arrested.
The boy he was caught with told the police that Mohammad would at times slap him into submission. He had tried to get away but could not, the police said. It is learnt that the research scholar took children to his room almost every evening.
The IIT disciplinary committee met today and decided to terminate Mohammad's scholarship. 'This is a very serious offence and it required prompt and stern action,' an official said. 'We are glad that a section of the boarders got wise to what was happening and caught the culprit red-handed.'