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IIT Kharagpur chargesheets whistleblower prof

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As reported by Aditi Tandon in tribuneindia.com on 20 may 2011:



IIT Kharagpur chargesheets whistleblower prof


Reason: He talked to the Press; Charge: He violated conduct


Five years ago when Rajeev Kumar, a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department of IIT Kharagpur took the RTI route to expose irregularities in the conduct of Joint Entrance Examinations, he knew the opposition he was pitched against.


Having exposed many a shocking manipulation in the JEE system and driven the mighty IITs to the Supreme Court for lack of transparency in the conduct of the entrance exams, Kumar today received a five-page chargesheet from his parent institute which initiated disciplinary proceedings against him. It said: “You are alleged to have had unauthorised interaction with the Press for injuring and damaging the reputation of the institute and for bringing unsubstantiated allegations of mass copying in the conduct of IIT exams, thereby deliberately tarnishing the image of the institute, its students, past and present, and its faculty,” reads the first charge against a man whose struggle began when his son took the IIT-JEE but failed, even though he had cleared all the major technical college entrance exams. Kumar, who has been working on draft after draft to reform the IIT system, has been accused: “Often directly and indirectly, through your personal acquaintances, you used your access to both electronic and print media on issues of personal interest without seeking the permission of authorities. Thereby maligning the institutions and exerting huge mental pressure on the faculty and administrative staff. This is a serious violation of conduct rules,” reads the chargesheet.


IIT Kharagpur has given Kumar 10 days to respond.. Kumar is famous for exposing the faulty system the IITs had been adopting for fixing cut-offs for JEE. This system resulted in the best scoring students being dropped from the list of successful candidates whereas the low scoring candidates emerged high rankers. He also questioned the validity of Optical Response Sheets used by the IITs, and said they were vulnerable to tampering.

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As reported by Charu Sudan Kasturi in hindustantimes.com on 30 May 2011:



IIT Kharagpur violates privacy law, snoops on prof’s phone chat


Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, obtained phone records of a whistleblower professor’s conversations with journalists without his consent or the sanction of a court or investigative agencies, to charge the faculty member with violating service rules. IIT Kharagpur obtained call details of



conversations between computer science professor Rajeev Kumar and journalists from two leading English dailies, drawing allegations of violation of both law and privacy.

Other than a customer, only government probe agencies and courts — and not employers in general — can demand call details or records from telecom service providers in India. Service providers also swear to ensure customer privacy in their license agreement with the government.


“I understand that telecom operators are obliged to ensure that personal data of customers, such as phone records, are not available to unauthorised persons,” telecom expert Mahesh Uppal told HT.


Under service rules, IIT faculty members are required to obtain the institute’s approval before speaking to the media. IIT Kharagpur has suspended Kumar — who exposed irregularities in admissions to the IITs in 2006, and a secret quota the IIT kept for faculty wards — on a slew of charges, including speaking to journalists without authorisation.


But Kumar has now filed a complaint with both the police and the BSNL — his service provider — after the IIT obtained his call details. “I would not like to comment on the matter at present,” IIT Kharagpur officiating registrar TK Ghoshal told HT when asked why and how the IIT obtained Kumar’s call records.




The IIT in its chargesheet on Kumar has accused him of bypassing relevant authorities in trying to purchase a laptop, which the institute claims he was planning to give his son — a charge the professor has denied.


The institute has also accused Kumar of trying to threaten an official with the use of RTI. Kumar has accused the IIT of trying to frame him because of his exposes.

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Respected Professor Rajeev Kumar


(1). You stand tall before all RTI activists.


(2). You inspire strength in all RTI activist.


(3). All RTI activist stand by you, in this hour of your distress.


Pray for quick reprieve for you.


Members : Pl. Read the news item, Click attachment




indefinite suspension of Whistleblower Professor.doc

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As reported by Vinita Deshmukh in moneylife.in on 02 Nov 2012:

Irregularities in IIT JEE: Will the new HRD minister offer justice to this tenacious whistleblower? - Moneylife


Irregularities in IIT JEE: Will the new HRD minister offer justice to this tenacious whistleblower?


Rajeev Kumar, professor of IIT Kharagpur, is consistently using RTI to expose irregularities in the IIT joint entrance examination and has triumphed by making the entrance test transparent this year but he has been suspended since 2011. Last week the HRD ministry had directed IIT Kharagpur to act on his indefinite suspension. An overview of his amazing battle through RTI


What happens if you doggedly try to cleanse up a corrupt system? You would be suspended from work if you happen to be professor Rajeev Kumar, a computer science engineering professor at IIT Kharagpur, even though the Supreme Court has hailed him as “one of the many unsung heroes who helped in improving the system.”


On 22nd October, the human resources development (HRD) ministry in a letter, had ordered the Director of IIT Kharagpur for ‘urgent’ revocation of suspension and appointment of an independent commissioner for departmental enquiry regarding professor Rajeev Kumar’s indefinite suspension since March 2011. This comes as a sequel to several reminders made by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to the IIT management to “examine the issue.” The CVC then on 25 September 2012 brought this indefinite delay to the notice of the HRD ministry which then issued a letter to the Director, IIT Kharagpur last week. To date, Kumar is debarred from teaching and research work and entering his departmental office complex and laboratories.

Ever since his son missed admission to IIT in 2006 by just three marks, he has been pursuing the flawed marking and student selection process of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) common to all IITs by filing a string of RTI (Right to Information) applications. RTI documents showed that 994 top scorers of JEE 2006, the year in which his son too appeared for the entrance examination, failed to make it to the IITs whereas lower scoring candidates were given admissions. According to Kumar, “this was due to faulty calculation of cut-off marks”. So he decided to go about correcting the flawed system to bring in transparency to this prestigious entrance test so that brilliant students are not denied entry into the esteemed IITs. His suspicion about the transparency of the candidate selection system grew when RTI replies revealed that the optical response sheets of 2006 (answer sheets in layman’s language) were ‘shredded’ (destroyed) despite the rule being that they should be preserved for one year. Also, the management of the IIT changed its version thrice in the CIC hearing and court regarding the formula it adopted for calculating cut-off percentage.


What provoked this IIT professor to use RTI so rigorously? In September 2006, Kumar read in the newspapers that the CIC ordered the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) to reveal its admission and selection procedure and so was inspired to pursue the same for IITs.


Thanks to Kumar’s sustained efforts at the expense of being “threatened, harassed and victimised by the Director, deans and the registrar of IIT Kharagpur since he is filing RTIapplications and exposing certain wrong-doings (as recorded in a CIC order)”, for the first time the IIT JEE entrance test of April 2012 displayed transparency. The students were provided carbon copies of their answer sheets; the model answers have been put up on the IIT website to facilitate students to cross check their answers and thereby marks and; the cut-off percentage was announced prior to the examination instead of after evaluation of the answer sheets. This was a sequel to a Supreme Court judgment which directed the IITs to upgrade the selection process and make the system more transparent.


Between September 2006 and January 2012, Rajeev Kumar has filed over 50 RTIapplications for information on various facets of IIT JEE entrance examination and other alleged mal-administration in IIT Kharagpur, even as he was fighting a legal battle in the high court and Supreme Court. He has also filed 39 second appeals/complaints to the Central Information Commission between May 2007 and April 2012.

Prof Kumar has been ironically suspended by the management of IIT Kharagpur in May 2011 for “damaging the reputation of the institute” because he made allegations on procedures adopted for IIT JEE entrance examination, exposed copying in these examinations and highlighted irregularities in purchase of laptops. The management of IIT Kharagpur in turn has alleged his involvement in corruption in purchase of laptops. As per rules, it is mandatory to form a committee to review his suspension as he comes under the Central Civil Service Rules of 1965. IIT Kharagpur, though stated that it has its own set of statutory rules for suspension cases, has issued him a letter saying that his suspension would continue till further orders. The HRD ministry in its letter has scuttled that argument.

Kumar filed his first RTI application in September 2006 seeking information on the cut-off marks for each subject (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) and marks scored by the top 2,000 students who had got through to IITs. IIT-JEE tests examine the analytical abilities of a student in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The students get a call for ‘counselling’ if they clear the pre-determined cut-off marks set for each subject as well as score the required aggregate marks.


After the PIO failed to reply, Kumar filed a first appeal but that too was ignored. He then filed a second appeal to the CIC. Kumar also simultaneously filed another RTI applicationasking for the procedure followed to determine the cut-off marks, the question paper with model answers and names of all the people associated with the examination procedure of 2006. The PIO of IIT stated in an evasive reply that there was “no set procedure to determine cut-off marks” and also refused to reveal the question paper. Then he filed a third application in January 2007 on the number of students who got marks above the cut-off marks and had got selected.


In April 2007, the CIC ordered the IIT Kharagpur to provide him the required information on all the three RTI applications he had filed. The information finally provided to him but did not explain how they reached that cut-off. IIT gave yet another explanation of the cut-off system in September 2007 and then submitted a third explanation to Kolkata High Court in August 2009. This proved there was no proper system.

In fact, for years, says Kumar, the selection of candidates was a very complex procedureand it was never made public. There was utmost secrecy in the marking procedure. As per rules, each year, one of the IITs is in charge of conducting the examination.

After Kumar was provided the list of all candidates who had cleared the examination of 2006, he analysed the marks of 32,000 candidates and was shocked to find that there was discrepancy in the cut-off marks. It showed that his son Sanchit and 993 others were wrongly excluded from being called for the next round which is called ’counselling’. The information also revealed that sons and daughters of IIT professors are almost always selected. Armed with this information he approached the Kolkata High Court but the judge did not allow the petition. The Supreme Court too dismissed his appeal regarding his son’s case. It however stated in its recent judgment that: Excerpts from Supreme Court Judgment [(2012) 1 SCC 157] “... the action taken by the appellants in challenging theprocedure for JEE 2006, their attempts to bring in transparency in the procedure by various RTI applications, and the debate generated by the several views of experts during the course of the writ proceedings, have helped in making the merit ranking process more transparent and accurate... IITs and the candidates who now participate in the examinations must, to a certain extent, thank appellants for their effort in bringing such transparency and accuracy in the ranking procedure. ...have to be satisfied in being one of the many unsung heroes who helped in improving the system.”

For Prof Rajeev Kumar, the story is far from over. More than 20 appeals/complaints are pending with the CIC against deemed refusal of information and submitting false/irrelevant/misleading information. His aim is complete cleansing of the irregularities and corruption in IITs. Too Utopian?

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Anubhuti Vishnoi in Indianexpress.com on Feb 28 2013

HRD Ministry to ask IIT to reinstate whistleblower - Indian Express


Based on the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to recommend that the suspension of whistleblower IIT Kharagpur professor Rajeev Kumar be revoked. He was suspended on May 13, 2011 based on a range of allegations, including maligning and misrepresenting the institute.


Kumar, who works with the computer science department of the institute, had questioned the marks system of students appearing for the IIT-JEE. He used the RTI Act to expose the alleged fake institute that was operating from within the Kharagpur campus. He had also alleged that admission of wards of senior functionaries of the IIT was being facilitated.


The courts have lauded his effort to bring transparency into the IIT system using the RTI Act. The Supreme Court once termed him as one of the many "unsung heroes who helped improve the system".


On CVC advice, the Central Vigilance Officer of HRD Ministry, Amit Khare, recommended that the suspension orders against Kumar be revoked. The CVO order will now be sent to IIT Kharagpur, which has been resisting any move to give relief to Kumar.


Though initially the ministry had kept away from the issue citing the autonomy of IITs, it wrote to IIT Kharagpur last month asking it to review Kumar's suspension order and place the matter for review before the Visitor, President of India. When the institute refused, the ministry sought the advice of CVC.


Last week, the Delhi HC had sought a report from the Centre, IIT Kharagpur and the CVC on a plea filed by Kumar seeking interim relief. He had alleged the enquiry against him by the IIT was biased.

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Charu Sudan Kasturi in Hindustantimes.com on April 30, 2013

For "unsung hero" behind IIT JEE transparency, some reprieve after years of torment - Hindustan Times


It could be the caution that comes with the few highs and frequent lows of single-handedly taking on, for six years, the country’s oldest Indian Institute of Technology, but on Tuesday evening IIT Kharagpur computer science professor Rajeev Kumar wasn’t celebrating the end of a two-year long suspension.



Barely hours earlier, Kumar, dubbed by the Supreme Court of India as an “unsung hero” responsible for much of the transparency introduced in the IIT entrance examination in recent years, had received a brief “memo” from the institute registrar. It informed Kumar in three typically bureaucratic sentences that the “competent authority” had decided to allow him “to resume his duty with immediate effect revoking the suspension” imposed on the 54-year old in 2011.


The suspension was justified by the IIT as necessary while an enquiry panel it had set up probed a raft of charges against Kumar. But the nature of the charges against Kumar -- that included speaking to journalists without permission from the very authorities he was questioning, based on archaic government rules that are rarely enforced except when it involves critical news reports – and his history of tussles with the IIT officials left him convinced he was being victimized.


“I don’t think the memo is the end [of the alleged victimization],” Kumar said, responding cautiously to this correspondent’s call. “All that’s happened is that instead of sitting at home, I can go sit in office.”


But for the whistleblower who faced the threat of dismissal from his job till Tuesday, the IIT Kharagpur order that follows two Delhi high court orders in his favour, does come as a reprieve, even if only temporary. The reprieve, though, only highlights the sense of vulnerability that many whistleblowers across India suffer.


Few among the lakhs of students across the country preparing for the second leg of the new two-tiered IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) one June 2 may know his name, but Kumar was instrumental in pressuring the IITs to make the test, widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest entrance barriers, more transparent.


Kumar’s battle started in 2007, and his story is both a tribute to the Right to Information (RTI) Act enacted two years earlier, and a cautionary tale for those keen on using the transparency law.


The computer science professor was surprised when his son didn’t clear the IIT-JEE in 2006. Using the RTI Act, he got details of the cut-off marks used by the IITs that year to select students. Creating an algorithm to test what the IITs did wasn’t a challenge. Before long, he realized that many students – including his son – had managed an aggregate score about 100 marks higher than what the IITs said was their cut-off, but had been disqualified because their chemistry scores were below the subject cut-off used.


Curious about the decision to rule out students with an overall performance far superior to many selected, Kumar pursued with RTI applications, now pressing the IITs for the formula they used to calculate their cut-offs.


Initially, he didn’t get any reply. Then, once he approached the courts, the IITs came up with three different formulae – one in a reply to Kumar, and two others in affidavits to the courts. None of these formulae yielded the cut-offs the IITs used. When Kumar exposed this gap, the IITs eventually came up with a fourth formula that uses multiple iterations to reach the cut-offs.


It is unlikely to ever be completely clear whether the IITs merely messed up their reply to Kumar and the first two affidavits, or whether the final formula was an afterthought.


But what followed was unprecedented. After Kumar petitioned everyone from the President and the human resource development (HRD) minister to the chairmen, directors and faculty of the IITs, with blueprints to make the IIT-JEE more transparent, the IITs did relent.


Till 2007, those students who qualified in the IIT-JEE only knew their rank, and no one knew what they had scored in the test. Students had to return their question papers to invigilators at the end of the exam, leaving them with no authoritative way of crosschecking their performance outside the test centre. The IITs never put out the correct answers to the questions posed in the test.


Today, all students are told their aggregate and subject-specific scores, and the IITs place both question papers and the correct answers online after the test is over, allowing students to verify how they’ve performed. This transparency has left the IITs exposed to criticism when the test papers contain incorrect questions or answers, but it has lifted the blanket of opacity that shrouded the test till Kumar pestered the IITs with his RTI requests.


While dismissing a petition by Kumar seeking his son’s admission, the Delhi High Court praised the professor in October 2011 for pressuring the IITs into injecting transparency into the IIT-JEE. “The appellant will have to be satisfied with being one of the many unsung heroes who helped in improving the system,” the court said.


Transparency in the IIT-JEE wasn’t the only mission Kumar took up.


Starting with IIT Kharagpur in 1951, India set up the IITs as the country’s premier engineering schools, modelled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The institutes remain the country’s best engineering institutions and boast formidable faculty, top students and alumni who are leading policy makers and CEOs across the world. But in recent years, the IITs have faced repeated controversies. The concerns over the 2006 IIT-JEE were only the start.


In 2010, the Hindustan Times first exposed how senior IIT Kharagpur officials and faculty members were running an unrecognized, fake institute from within the IIT campus, duping innocent students by offering them certificates with absolutely no value. The CBI arrested an aerospace engineering professor believed to be the mastermind of the racket, and is still investigating the case.


Also that year, Kumar obtained details – through the RTI Act – of a till-then unacknowledged, secret quota for children of faculty that the IITs ran for several years. Kumar also claimed that IIT Kharagpur was pressuring teachers to buy computers at inflated prices, and that it was doing little to curb cheating in internal exams.


But Kumar’s crusade had consequences.


IIT Kharagpur accused Kumar of trying to manipulate the institute’s procurement policies to buy a laptop using official funds for personal use. Kumar, the institute said, had threatened an official – his email had said that he would have to resort to using the RTI Act if the official failed to act on his demand. The IIT said there was no evidence to back Kumar’s claims of large-scale cheating in internal examinations.


And it traced Kumar’s call records – illegally, without a warrant – to show that he had spoken to journalists, including this correspondent. The IIT set up an enquiry against Kumar, and then suspended him pending the result of the probe.


Six months passed, then a year. But the probe panel – which Kumar accused of bias -- didn’t come out with a report. Meanwhile, Kumar questioned the legality of keeping him under suspension, citing rules that suggest that such suspensions must be reviewed every six months.


The IIT insisted that the rules Kumar was citing didn’t apply to them, but the HRD ministry ruled that they did. Eventually, the ministry asked the IIT to lift the suspension against Kumar.


Many within the academic community have supported Kumar over these years, though few have come out openly. Equally, several teachers, including Kumar’s colleagues at IIT Kharagpur, and many administrators have called the computer scientist a habitual trouble monger, accusing him of hurting the IIT brand name.


Now that the suspension has been lifted, both Kumar’s silent supporters and his critics will be watching him again, one question on their minds. The academic in him is alive again. But is the whistleblower in him still breathing?

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[h=1]IIT Kharagpur Accepts Resignation Of Whistle-Blower Professor[/h]

[h=2]IIT Kharagpur had suspended Professor Rajeev Kumar for "misconduct" in May 2011, the same year the Supreme Court had praised him as an "unsung hero" for his efforts to reform the IIT Joint Entrance Examination.[/h]

IIT Kharagpur has accepted the resignation of whistle-blower professor Rajeev Kumar, whose compulsory retirement order was quashed by President Pranab Mukherjee days before he demitted office.



IIT Kharagpur had suspended Kumar for "misconduct" in May 2011, the same year the Supreme Court had lauded him as an "unsung hero" for his efforts to reform the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) which has since been re-christened as JEE Advanced.


Read More at: IIT Kharagpur Accepts Resignation Of Whistle-Blower Professor Rajeev Kumar

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Prasad GLN

This is what we have been advising members, who are employees, even when very big personalities with such financial and moral background can not face such incriminating attitude from Management, better to avoid seeking sensitive information in the name of employee and always select a good friend or relative in filing such RTI Applications.

Who is the loser ? not known.

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