IIT Delhi director RK Shevgaonkar quits over demand for Sachin’s academy, Subramanian Swamy’s dues

NEW DELHI: IIT Delhi director Raghunath K Shevgaonkar has quit more than two years before the end of his term. A senior IIT official confirmed the news on Saturday though human resource development ministry officials claimed they were unaware of it.

Shevgaonkar has been under tremendous pressure from the ministry to accede to two of its demands, IIT sources said. He was reportedly asked to provide the IIT ground for a cricket academy Sachin Tendulkar wanted to open and also pay nearly Rs 70 lakh to former IIT D faculty and now BJP functionary Subramanian Swamy as his “salary dues” between 1972 and 1991.

Shevgaonkar was opposed to both the demands, the sources said. “The director was against a cricket academy opening on the IIT premises. He was of the view that the campus should be used only by the students and faculty,” a senior administrative staff said, adding that IITs should not become “an arena for such commercial interests”.

IIT Delhi has been maintaining that Swamy has not provided it with an information it first needs: the details of his earnings from the time of his termination as a professor in 1972 to March 1991, when he was reinstated following a court order.

Swamy had been demanding his salary dues during the period along with an 18% interest, which both IIT and the HRD ministry initially rejected. Swamy then went to the Delhi high court, and last year, it dismissed IIT’s plea that his petition should not be entertained.

The ministry changed its stance after the Modi government assumed office this year. Recently, it sought the advice of the department of personnel & training on whether Swamy’s case came under the government’s general financial rules and service rules and if he could be granted ‘extraordinary leave’ between 1972 and 1991.

(IIT Delhi director Raghunath K Shevgaonkar has quit more than two years before the end of his term.)

The ministry even organized a meeting between Shevgaonkar and other senior IIT officials with Swamy. But Shevgaonkar, the sources said, wasn’t in favour of an out-of-court settlement and wanted to pursue the legal battle. “The director was of the view that such a settlement will create a bad precedent. He also felt that the case had political overtones,” the senior IIT official said.