Kolkata: Over 200 faculty members and alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) participated in a silent protest here on Saturday to demand the appointment of Partha Pratim Chakrabarti as the institute`s head.
Members of the IIT Alumni Foundation have been pressing for having Chakrabarti as the director, a process that has been stalled for over a year due to an alleged delay by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in clearing his name. The post of the director of the institute has been vacant since June 30, 2012.
Professors and alumni members gathered at Allen Park in Park Street in the heart of the city to put across their point via placards and banners.
"We will carry on our protests till Chakrabarti is appointed," Rajendra Singh, general secretary of the association, said.
IIT-KGP is around 135 km from here.
Silent protests have been planned in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore.
Although the acting director has been discharging the directorial duties, Singh said a full-time head was necessary for executing long-term plans, including execution of the institute`s `Vision 2020` charter that envisages making IIT-KGP one of the top 20 institutes in the world.
Chakrabarti`s appointment as director was halted as he was accused in the Coal Net case between IIT and Coal India Limited (CIL), which was probed by the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
Coal Net was a Rs 28-crore project that would enable data sharing between the coal ministry and CIL and its subsidiaries. It was awarded to IIT-Kharagpur. However, against the rules, the institute awarded the project to a third, private party, owned by an alumnus.
IIT-Kharagpur`s, alumnus and co-founder of Hindustan Computers Ltd (HCL) Arjun Malhota claimed in Delhi Friday that the CBI report recommended only a minor penalty against Chakrabarti.
According to CVC guidelines, matters with minor penalty must be resolved within two months of receiving statements. Alumni members say Chakrabarti had responded to the first CVC/CBI enquiry over four-and-a-half years ago.