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Leaked email shows Professor investigating IIT-Guwahati colleague resigned due to ‘undue pressure’

The committee was formed to investigate Brijesh Rai, who has spoken up against alleged corruption at the institute. IIT-G students had protested in Rai's support.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 06, 2019, 07.49 PM IST|Original: Dec 06, 2019, 07.49 PM IST
The committee was formed on August 6 and Dixit resigned within two days itself.
NEW DELHI: Emails shared with ET show that a professor from IIT Guwahati (IIT-G), who was part of a ‘high powered committee’ investigating another professor Brijesh Rai who had been suspended by the institute, had resigned saying that he has faced “undue pressure”. In an email to the authorities of the institute on August 17, the professor also said, “My professional does not allow me to be a part of the committee [sic].”

The committee had been formed to investigate allegations against professor Brijesh Rai, who has been suspended by the institute. On Nov 17, students had turned up in hundreds to support Rai in a candlelight protest march.

The professor who resigned from the committee, Uday S Dixit, also said that he has “observed that proceedings [of the committee] have not been conducted properly.”

IIT-G authorities did not respond to queries from ET.

The committee was formed on August 6 and Dixit resigned within two days itself.

Rai has been under suspension by the institute since September for “embarrassing the institute”, among other charges. He had spoken up against instances of alleged corruption by the institute to ISRO, the country’s premier space research organisation. Rai had said there were irregularities in projects undertaken by ISRO and IIT-G.

Rai said that he has never been given a chance to properly defend himself during investigations and is facing tremendous mental pressure. The only question asked of him during disciplinary proceedings so far is whether he sent emails to ISRO, he said.

In fact, the institute also suspended his access to his official email on November 28. An order issued by the director says that Rai “has been damaging the name of IIT Guwahati with false allegation(s) by sending emails from his official email id, the official email service of Dr. Rai is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Rai says he is now under tremendous mental pressure, as he has been suspended multiple times without proper reasons. "How can I show my face to students?," he said.

Students, though, seem to be supporting the professor. On November 17, hundreds of IIT-G students had taken a candlelit protest march in his support. The institute was quick to react, sending an email to select students the next day asking them to confess who was present at the protest.

Another reason the institute has given for suspending Rai is that he got into a physical scuffle with fellow professor Gaurav Trivedi, which Rai denies. Rai says that Trivedi has personal vendetta against him after he highlighted that Trivedi had arranged for a student to give an examination in 2014 despite the student not being eligible for it.

Rai has filed several RTIs with the institute and has allegedly found irregularities. He has also filed PILs in Patna High Court and Gauhati High Court on matters of alleged corruption, and a temple being illegally constructed in the institute, respectively. The Gauhati High Court is expected to rule on the temple matter soon.

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