On a day when the Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe into all faculty appointments made at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Madras) from 1995 to 2000, it emerged that the appointment of its incumbent Director Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi also suffered from legal and technical infirmities.
Replies obtained from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), New Delhi, under the Right to Information Act by a former IITian E Muralidharan have revealed that Prof Ramamurthi’s appointment was not approved by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC). This is in contravention of an Office Memorandum issued by the DoPT in July 2006 making it clear that all appointments of chief executives in central autonomous institutions should come under the purview of the ACC headed by the Prime Minister.
In a January 2012 reply to an application filed by Muralidharan, the DoPT has said “…it is hereby informed that the appointment of Dr Baskar Ramamurthi as Director, IIT, Madras has not been made with the approval of ACC.”
“I am going public with this RTI reply now because I consider this the right time to expose this in the backdrop of the Madras High Court’s judgment on Thursday ordering a CBI probe into past faculty appointments,” Muralidharan told Express. (Muralidharan too has been waging a lengthy legal battle seeking appointment as a faculty at the IIT Madras.) The IIT Madras is listed as the 172th central autonomous institute under the Ministry of Human Resources Development.
Muralidharan insists that from the documents obtained under the RTI Act it is clear that Ramamurthi’s appointment was made without the knowledge and approval of the PM. Curiously, even the appointment Ramamurthi’s predecessor at the IIT Madras Prof M S Ananth was not approved by the ACC.