IIT Kharagpur is without a regular Director since July 2012! How long does it take it formally appoint the Director of a major institute in the country? Shouldn’t it be a priority of some kind? How can we expect the best from our premier institutions when the government takes such a lackadaisical approach to the appointment of its top leadership?
It turns out that the Ministry of HRD had selected Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti as early as last July, but his final appointment was subject to a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) clearance which is linked to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case of 2007. The CBI had recommended minor penalties to Prof. Chakrabarti despite the fact that he was neither involved technically or financially in the project. The CVC, however, does not appear to be inclined to bring the case to conclusion for unknown reasons. In the mean time, IIT Kharagpur’s Board of Governors (BOG) cleared Prof. Chakrabarti of any wrong doing once in March 2012 and again on March 23, 2013.
Prof. Chakrabarti, being a gold medalist of IIT Kharagpur in the mid-eighties, has impeccable credentials and tremendous support and goodwill among students and faculty, both past and present. His commitment to the institute and his integrity has never been in question to many who have known and interacted with him over the years. Yet, his final appointment remains stalled over a case that many argue has little to do with him personally.
The intent is not to blindly absolve Prof. Chakrabarti of any wrong doing, if any. If the professor was, in fact, involved in a case of corruption, let the matter be brought to light. If he is innocent, then let the matter be closed and his appointment confirmed at the earliest. By letting the matter fester in a limbo, the government is adversely affecting a premier institution in the country and perhaps needlessly casting aspersions on a well-respected individual who has dedicated his life to the institute ever since he set foot there as a student.