Published: 05th January 2020
IIT-G sends 'whistleblower' prof on compulsory retirement, asks him to vacate quarters
The Board of Governors decided to accept the three inquiry reports after considering Rai's submission while concluding that the charges serious enough to merit compulsory retirement
Over the last several months, IIT Guwahati professor, Brijesh Kumar Rai has been facing action from the institution for being a 'whistleblower'. The ongoing investigation into his case has finally concluded with this decision — compulsory retirement. Not just that, they've also given him only a month to vacate his house despite the fact that according to the rule, people are usually given four months to vacate the residence.
In an earlier interview, Rai said that he filed close to 300 RTIs, several of which had allegedly pointed to large-scale corruption at the institute. However, the institute accused the professor of maligning the institute's name by writing to the ISRO chief about 'illegal' recruitment happening on campus and also speaking to the media about the issues on campus. When some media outlets began to report that Rai had been dismissed from services for unearthing corruption on campus, the institute had issued a statement that Rai was only being investigated and had not been dismissed, they had also claimed that Rai had falsely informed the media of the same. He faced that charge too.
When the institute accused the professor of maligning the institute, he had responded by saying that he was only being a responsible citizen and helping save the institute by revealing the corruption on campus.
However, the institute has now issued an order to the professor stating that they had found him guilty on several accounts. The compulsory retirement is a penalty that the Board of Governors has decided to impose on the professor. The Order states that the professor was investigated for three reasons — for his altercation with DR B Anand, his email to the ISRO chief without following official protocol, dereliction of his duty. They state that most of the charges the professor had been accused of had been proven.
"The Board of Governors decided to accept the three inquiry reports after considering Rai's submission while concluding that each of the three cases were independently serious enough to merit the imposition of dismissal from service (which would be a disqualification for future employment). However, the Board reconsidered the decision and decided to impose the penalty of compulsory retirement instead of dismissal from services," the Order said.
Subsequently, Rai also recieved a letter from the Joint Registrar directing him to vacate the quarters on campus that he currently occupies within a month. "First they illegally force me to take compulsory retirement. And then, violate their rules to force me to vacate the house within a month while as per the Rule 4.2.2, it should be 4 months," Rai said.
"What has happened with me shows the failure of the system. It shows how corrupt ones have so much power that they continue to violate the law of the land without any fear. It is surprising how highly educated people get compromised so easily. They are not ashamed of lying and raising false allegations to get material benefits. The present system needs to be changed. It has failed honest people. It has failed those who genuinely want good for the country. It forced one to become corrupt or leave the country if he/she can," Rai wrote.
Rai has been issued a series of show-cause notices, he was abruptly blocked from accessing the group email created for the faculty and administration on campus, his own email ID was also eventually blocked. The professor said that blocking off his email could mean students could not get their reference letters or personal recommendation from future employers or academic prospects and would be endangering students' futures and his own too. He complained that if he had atleast been intimated about the blocking, he could have alerted his contacts and saved his important mails.
However, throughout his journey, the students and alumni have stood beside Rai. The alumni recently issued a letter stating, " “We support Rai for his fight against malfunctions and irregularities in the administration of IIT G. The transparent investigation needs to be done and the perpetrators who are behind these all malfunctioning should be terminated," they demanded. Several students have also taken to Facebook to condemn the institute's move.
Despite saying that he had been through acute harassment over the last few days, the professor says he has no intention of calling off his fight, "I am going to continue my fight. I simply can not bear this injustice and dictatorship. Our forefathers did not sacrifice their lives so that we are ruled by dictators. I will challenge the illegal order passed by the Board of Governors. It is pertinent to mention here that leaked emails have already exposed what the director of IITG wanted to do. Unfortunately, all the BOG members did what the director wanted them to do. In spite of the fact that I explained to them how all the charges leveled against me were false and I also explained them how even mandatory procedures have not been followed. However, by giving me compulsory retirement, they want to show what they will do to those who would oppose corruption and this is why I will continue my fight. We can not allow ourselves to be terrorized," he said.