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IIT fights in-house vendetta charge

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New Delhi, July 22: A senior officer at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur has accused the institute of suspending him for using the Right to Information Act to point out alleged irregularities in the appointment of top administrators.


Kalo Boran Mahapatra has complained to the Central Information Commission (CIC) that IIT Kharagpur suspended him last July after he asked for documents that he claims would have revealed that the selected candidates were not qualified for the posts.


IIT officials, however, said Mahapatra was suspended because of a complaint they had received from income-tax authorities that he had drawn an advance to build a house but had not constructed it.


The registrar, a professor of linguistics at the IIT, obtained fewer marks than the 55 per cent required at the post-graduate level for appointment, Mahapatra has claimed.


The deputy registrar, assistant registrar and finance officer were also appointed despite failing to meet the qualifications, the guest house manager has alleged. Mahapatra said he came to know of the irregularities as he was on a committee that screened applications to the posts.


Suspended for about a year now, Mahapatra will make a fresh presentation before the CIC this week, where, he claimed, “he will provide evidence of victimisation”.


The CIC, calling the allegation a “serious charge”, has asked the IIT to provide Mahapatra with documents related to the appointments by July 31. The information watchdog, however, clarified that it was not taking an “official position” against the IIT yet.


“Only once the documents are examined will it become clear whether Mahapatra has been victimised as he has alleged,” a CIC official said. The IIT has been asked to provide all the notings on the files and records.


IIT Kharagpur has told the CIC that it had received 15 RTI applications from various employees but “no one had complained of victimisation”. “We will comply with whatever the CIC has asked us to do,” IIT deputy director Madhusudan Chakraborty told The Telegraph.


The IIT was “justified” in taking action against an employee who took an advance but did not utilise it for the purpose cited, Chakraborty said. Mahapatra has denied the allegation.


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Targeting of RTI applicants is not new and it happens anyway whenever people have raked up issues which are uncomfortable to others. People have been beaten up, as it appeared in newspaper articles some days back, for trying to bring out things into perspective.

Even, personally I have been victimised for using the RTI application for asking info on illegal & unauthorised constructions, in Malad (Mumbai).

Anyway people should go ahead against such nuisances.

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