IIT Delhi Director Raghunath K S Shevgaonkar resigns amid controversy

New Delhi: IIT Delhi Director Raghunath K S Shevgaonkar has resigned with more than two years of his tenure left amid a controversy over the circumstances under which he quit including alleged pressure put on him by the Human Resources Development(HRD) Ministry.

IIT Delhi Director Raghunath K S Shevgaonkar
IIT Delhi Director Raghunath K S Shevgaonkar
Shevgaonkar sent his resignation in a letter to Chairman of IIT Board of Governors Vijay P Bhatkar on Friday evening in which he cited “personal reasons”.

“I have resigned, that’s it,” was all that Shevgaonkar would say today when he was confronted by reporters after a controversy erupted in which cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was also dragged.

The HRD Ministry denied a media report that said Shevgaonkar resigned after he was allegedly put under pressure from the HRD Ministry to accede to two demands–to provide the IIT ground for a cricket academy Tendulkar allegedly wants to open and to pay nearly Rs 70 lakh to former IIT-D faculty and now BJP leader Subramaniwan Swamy as his “salary dues” between 1972 and 1981.

The Ministry issued the rejoinder afer HRD Minister Smriti Irani convened a meeting of her officials in the wake of the resignation of the IIT-D Director.

The news report that said Shevgaonkar resigned resisting pressure is “factually inaccurate and incorrect” and unnecessarily drags the HRD Ministry into the issue where no direction has been issued by the Ministry, a ministry statement said.

“There is neither any request from Sachin Tendulkar for the ground of IIT for running a Cricket Academy nor any instruction from HRD Ministry to provide the same.

The HRD Ministry has neither forwarded Subramanian Swamy’s request to IIT-Delhi nor given any direction to make payment of arrears to Swamy. Views of DoPT and Finance Ministry have been sought on the matter,” the statement said.

Tendulkar took to Twitter to express his anguish on his name being dragged in the controversy.

“I am appalled to read the stories that suggest some land has been asked from IIT-D for academy in my name,” he said.

“I have not even planned any academy neither do I want any piece of land for any purpose.

Wish that basic facts are checked from me before publishing such fiction using my name,” he said in a couple of more tweets,” he said.

Swamy expressed shock over the issue of his dues being linked to the resignation of Shevgaonkar, saying it is a matter between the Government and the Board of Directors.

“The Director doesn’t come into the picture at all,” he said.

Swamy alleged that the resignation was not over the alleged demand by HRD Ministry to settle his dues but had to do something with setting up IIT’s Delhi campus in Mauritius.

“The Director was found to have in 2011 gone quietly to Mauritius without telling the Government of India and set up an institute in the name of an affiliate of the IIT and so an explanation was asked from him.

“And in order to hide the fact that that would certainly mean termination of his directorship he tried to make a political capital of it,” Swamy alleged.