NEW DELHI: THE Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur has accepted the resignation of whistle-blower professor Rajeev Kumar, whose compulsory retirement penalty was quashed by former president Pranab Mukherjee before his tenure ended.
The Supreme Court had lauded Kumar as an “unsung hero” for his efforts to reform the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in the same year (2011) that he was suspended for alleged misconduct. The institute had set up a probe panel that found him guilty. Kumar was accused of “damaging the reputation of the institute” by levelling allegations on issues ranging from irregularities in the purchase of laptops to rampant malpractice by students during examinations.
In 2014, the IIT decided to compulsorily retire him. Kumar, who alleged that the panel was biased, had moved the Delhi High Court and obtained a stay on the institute’s decision. He had also appealed to the then president requesting that the order be quashed. While he had resigned in 2014, the institution had not accepted his resignation saying the matter was sub-judice.
“(Former) President and Visitor of IIT Kharagpur has set aside the penalty of compulsory retirement on professor Rajeev Kumar... The institute accepts his technical resignation in view of the HRD communication following the presidential order,” an official memorandum said. Following the high court’s stay order, Kumar had taken lien for two years and joined Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2015.
However, he was relieved from JNU in June to allow him to re-join IIT Kharagpur. The professor had appealed to the JNU vice chancellor to reinstate him as his penalty had been quashed and resignation accepted. The HRD ministry had last week an issued order to the IIT Kharagpur director to comply with the former president’s order.