IIT rejoinder and reply on 'threat'

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 7.04.10

Dr T.K. Ghosal, registrar (officiating) with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, has sent a rejoinder to a news report carried in The Telegraph on March 29.

The news report had said that at a Central Information Commission (CIC) hearing of RTI appeals by an IIT professor, Rajeev Kumar, who exposed discrepancies in the 2006 admissions, Dr Ghosal warned Prof. Kumar against challenging the IITs, telling him that “by doing this you are cutting your hand”.

The report had added that the CIC, in an unusual move, had recorded the comment in its order and stated that Prof. Kumar saw the comment as a threat and that Dr Ghosal had said that it was not intended as one.

Dr Ghosal’s rejoinder sent to The Telegraph states:

Dear Sir,

We express our anguish over the reporting of misleading and baseless information published in your esteemed Newspaper on 29th March 2010 Edition under the heading “Whistleblower warned over JEE case. Threat to IIT teacher”….

The fact of the case is that the complainant Mr. Rajeev Kumar filed a complaint in the Central Information Commission. The Commission allowed the appeal on the basis of a letter dated 02-02-2010 from the Public Information Officer, IIT Kharagpur. The decision is available in the Website of Central Information Commission (decision No. CC/SG/C/2010/000001/6934 Adjunct dated 19.03.2010). It is evident that the decision does not carry a single word of JEE-2006. Hence, we feel that the stated news item is not a proper representation and has unnecessarily cast aspersion on our Institute.

As regards your reporting on JEE 2006 admission, your attention is invited to the judgment of the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Kalidas Mukherjee, High Court Calcutta in regard to case F.M.A. No. 1424 of 2008 in the matter of Shri Sanchit Bansal, son of Shri Rajeev Kumar and Another Vs. the Joint Admission Board (JAB) and others. The Hon’ble Court through their final judgment has disposed the said appeal. The same was reported to many leading Newspapers and also included in AIR. That being the position… (the) report has given a different news to confuse the readers of The Telegraph. As such I am directed to contradict the same.

We hope that considering the gravity of the situation, you would be kind enough to publish this Rejoinder or publish the same in The Telegraph as a letter to the Editor.

Our Special Correspondent replies:

The news item factually reported what transpired at a hearing of the CIC on March 19, 2010, as recorded on the same day in an order of the CIC.

In his letter, Dr T.K. Ghosal does not at any point challenge the factual contents of the news report. Instead, he has cited unrelated facts and claimed the report is “misleading and baseless”.

The CIC order explicitly says that Prof. Kumar pointed out to the commission that Dr Ghosal had during the discussions told Prof. Kumar “that by doing this you are cutting your hand”. Dr Ghosal’s warning is specifically mentioned at the end of paragraph 3 of page 2 of the CIC order. This was perceived by Prof. Kumar as a threat — and the CIC viewed this as significant enough to be recorded in its order.

The Telegraph report had given the versions of both Prof. Kumar and Dr Ghosal.

The news report states that Dr Ghosal warned Prof. Kumar in relation to the latter challenging the IITs. It nowhere states that the March 19 hearing in particular was on the 2006 JEE or that the order mentioned the admissions fiasco that year.

The report correctly states that Prof. Kumar revealed the discrepancies in the 2006 JEE that denied 994 deserving candidates seats at the IITs. The March 19 hearing pertained to information that Prof. Kumar had sought and which the IIT was denying him — in other words, Prof. Kumar was challenging the IIT.

While the March 19 order did not mention the year 2006, the information sought by Prof. Kumar is intrinsically associated with his fight to bring justice to the victims of the JEE 2006 scandal.

Dr Ghosal’s rejoinder misleadingly cites the high court dismissal of a petition filed by Prof. Kumar in the 2006 case even though that high court order is not related to the facts reported in The Telegraph report.

The high court order in the case very clearly explains that Prof. Kumar’s petition was dismissed on a technicality.

The parliamentary standing committee on human resource development too has observed that the technicality on which the high court dismissed Prof. Kumar’s petition does not exonerate the IIT from answering questions about the 2006 JEE discrepancies.