New Delhi, July 4: An IIT Kharagpur professor, indicted by the CBI for alleged involvement in a case of irregularity, has been shortlisted and interviewed by a Kapil Sibal-headed panel for the post of director of the premier tech school.
P.P. Chakraborty, dean of an IIT department called Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), is among 11 persons shortlisted by the selection committee.
Yesterday, the panel called him for an interview despite a CBI recommendation for departmental action against the professor.
Chakraborty had been accused of being involved in outsourcing a software job to a private company in violation of the terms set by Coal India Ltd (CIL), which had placed orders worth over Rs 27 crore over two phases — in 2001 and 2004.
The CBI, which investigated the projects on the basis of an anonymous complaint, recommended regular departmental action against Chakraborty and two others, A.K. Bhowmick, the then dean of the SRIC and the present director of IIT Patna, and R.N. Banerjee, a professor of industrial engineering and management.
Coal India had placed the first order for Coalnet, an application software, on July 3, 2001, for Rs 8.9 crore. The IIT was not supposed to outsource any part of the job to any other organisation without the approval of Coal India. The IIT, however, outsourced the entire job to TCG Software Pvt Ltd nine days later.
A similar allegation surfaced when Phase II of Coalnet, a project worth Rs 18.8 crore, came up. The IIT, which signed an agreement with Coal India on January 19, 2004, outsourced the entire job to the same firm two days later.
In its report in 2007, the CBI said Bhowmick and Banerjee were primarily responsible for outsourcing the project, while Chakraborty “misrepresented to CIL that the work had not been outsourced to TCG”.
The three faculty members also tried to defend their position by manipulating records, the CBI said.
The human resource development ministry had then forwarded the CBI report to the institute for action. But the IIT’s board of governors, at a meeting in December 2011, rejected the recommendations of the CBI.
In March this year, Sibal’s ministry asked the institute to seek advice from the Central Vigilance Commission since it had rejected the CBI report. The institute has to explain to the CVC the reasons for rejecting the CBI recommendations, but have the liberty to accept or reject the vigilance commission’s advice.
Sources in the HRD ministry said selection panels shortlist persons for interviews based on their bio-data. However, a candidate’s vigilance record is checked before nominating his name for appointment.
The 11 names shortlisted by the committee, which called Chakraborty and the others for interviews yesterday, are for the posts of directors in IIT Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur.
The committee includes UGC acting chairman Ved Prakash, All India Council for Technical Education chairman S.S. Mantha, Infosys’s Krish Gopalakrishnan, IIT Kharagpur chairman Shiv Nadar and IIT Kanpur chairman M. Anandkrishnan.