Sarit Das tipped to head IIT-Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: The name of Sarit Kumar Das, a professor of Mechanical Engineering in IIT-Madras, is understood to have been cleared by the Union HRD ministry as the new director of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here.

Similarly, the names Rajeev Sekhar and Pushpak Bhattacharyya are said to have been cleared to head the Ropar and Patna campuses of the prestigious institute, respectively, according to sources in New Delhi.

The ministry, which held a marathon round of day-long selection process on March 22 and interviewed 36 IIT faculties for the three posts, zeroed in on these three names, the sources said.

Anil Kakodar, chairman of IIT-Bombay’s Board of Governors, had skipped the meeting of the selection panel days after he had stirred a controversy by resigning from his post, unhappy over the selection process, though he later withdrew it.

The interview was called afresh on March 22 after the ministry had quashed an earlier selection process to appoint the new directors for the three IITs.

In case of IIT-Ropar, the names of Manoj Dutta of IIT-Delhi and another one of IIT-Kanpur were also doing the rounds, but finally, the latter’s name was recommended, the sources added. Bhattacharyya is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT-Bombay and Sekhar is from IIT-Jodhpur.

Meanwhile, the sources said the ministry is expected to finalise its stand soon on IIT-Delhi director R. Shevgaonkar, whose resignation is yet to be accepted. He had resigned on December 22 amid controversy, seeking to be relieved by the first week of January.

Shevgaonkar’s resignation had stirred a controversy with more than two years of his tenure left as reports suggested that he was under pressure from the ministry. He has now served his mandatory notice of three months.