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  • Published 20.02.11

New Delhi, Feb. 19: The Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, is in the glare because of violation of norms in the appointment of faculty.

At the centre of the controversy is institute director M. Chakraborty. Documents with The Telegraph show that Chakraborty flouted eligibility norms in the appointment of two assistant professors. He also violated government guidelines to appoint a faculty member past the age of 65 as the dean (faculty).

The Central Vigilance Commission has registered a case against these alleged irregularities and forwarded complaints to the human resource development ministry.

Set up in 2008, IIT Bhubaneswar was originally mentored by IIT Kharagpur. So, IIT Kharagpur director Damodar Acharya served as director of IIT Bhubaneswar till a regular director was appointed.

In August 2008, IIT Bhubaneswar advertised for the post of assistant professors. The ad stated that all applicants had to have PhD degrees with a first class or equivalent in all preceding degrees, as well as at least three years of teaching/research/industrial experience.

However, Sabyasachi Pani, an applicant for the post of assistant professor of mathematics, did not have a first class or equivalent at the Class XII level. But he was appointed.

Briefly in early 2009, Chakraborty, who was deputy director of IIT Kharagpur, took over as the institute’s officiating director when Acharya stepped down because of student unrest.

During that period, Chakraborty asked for applicants’ files and noted that Pani “may be called for interview as he is fulfilling shortlisting criteria”. Accordingly, Pani was called for an interview and selected. But several candidates who had got first classes throughout their careers were rejected.

In May 2009, Chakraborty was appointed as the first director of IIT Bhubaneswar. A selection panel headed by him appointed Rajan Jha as assistant professor of physics. But documents show Jha had less than three years of research/teaching experience when he was appointed.

Chakraborty also appointed S.C. De Sarkar, who was above 65, as the dean (faculty). According to the guidelines, the Visitor’s approval should have been obtained before employing faculty members past 65.

“The allegations are being investigated,” a ministry source said.

Chakraborty could not be contacted for comment. IIT Bhubaneswar chairperson P. Rama Rao said he had received the complaints forwarded by the HRD ministry.

“We have also given our reply to the ministry on these complaints. You can get that information from the ministry,” he said.