Smriti clears air on IIT resignations

Says heads of educational bodies resigned on personal grounds

New Delhi : The resignation of some heads of prominent educational bodies were “on personal reasons and no inquiry was called for”, HRD minister Smriti Irani today said two months after a probe was ordered against former NCERT director Parvin Sinclair for alleged financial irregularities.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha to a question from MP Harivansh whether the resignations of eminent persons such as Anil Kakodkar and R Shevgaonkar were due to pressure from the ministry to appoint preferred persons, she said, “The resignations were entirely for personal reasons, therefore no enquiry was called for.”

The MP had also sought to know why a probe was not conducted if the activities of these heads were suspicious.

Talking about Sinclair, Irani, without naming her, said she had sought “pre-mature repatriation” from her post on “personal grounds” and she was relieved in October last year.

Ministry officials, however, said that an enquiry was ordered against her two months ago to look into the allegations of financial impropriety and academic irregularities.

Asserting that there was no pressure from the ministry on any of the institutional heads to quit, Irani referred to both Kakodkar, who was former chairman of IIT Bombay’s Board of Governors, and IIT Delhi Director Shevgaonkar, saying they had offered to resign on personal grounds.

A week after his tenure came to an end, Kakodkar had told a TV channel that he had resigned because he did not want to be part of the selection process of IIT directors which was “too casual” and like “running a lottery”.

Both Kakodkar’s and Shivgaonkar’s offer of resignation had kicked off a huge controversy in academic circles amid accusations that the Ministry was interfering with the academic matters of institutes of higher learning.

In her reply today, Irani said, “Prof R Shevgaonkar, Director, IIT-D, submitted his resignation due to personal reasons. The Board of Governor (BoG) of IIT-Delhi desired that in the larger interest of the institute, Shevgaonkar should continue as Director. Therefore the board endorsed the resignation which was accepted on June 1, 2015.”

She also talked about the Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad, saying he submitted his resignation on personal grounds and demitted office on January 28.

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