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IIT-Kanpur Set to Refer Dalit Scholar’s Thesis to External Technical Experts

The institute's board of governors on Tuesday dismissed a recommendation of the senate asking that Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela's thesis be revoked over charges of plagiarism.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:April 9, 2019, 9:54 PM IST
IIT-Kanpur Set to Refer Dalit Scholar’s Thesis to External Technical Experts
File photo of Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela

New Delhi: The Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have found no reason to revoke the thesis of Dalit faculty Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela.

In a meeting held on Tuesday, the board junked a recommendation of the Senate asking that Sadrela’s thesis be revoked. However, IIT-Kanpur Director Professor Abhay Karandikar has been asked to constitute a committee of external technical experts to review the thesis over charges of plagiarism.

News18 has learnt that the Board found variations in the internal reports prepared on the case – while a report by the Academic Ethics cell found no reason to revoke the thesis, another by the Senate Post-Graduate Committee recommended its revocation.

Karandikar, who was present in the meeting, said, “The board has entrusted me to form an external technical expert committee that can prepare a report on the Sadrela’s case. It will be presented in the next board meeting. The senate’s recommendation has not been accepted.”

Dr Koppillil Radhakrishnan is the chairperson of the board of governors.

On March 14, the Senate had recommended that Sadrela’s thesis be revoked on charges of plagiarism even though the academic ethics cell found no reason to do so. The Dalit scholar claimed that the accusations were motivated by his complaints of harassment and discrimination against four senior faculty members who had raised questions over his recruitment.

While all Board members were not present in the meeting, Professor Debopam Das, who is the Senate nominee on the board and had expressed problems with Sadrela’s recruitment, did attend. Ahead of the meeting, a faculty member and an alumnus had written to the director and flagged the “serious conflict of interest” about Das’s presence in the meeting.

Professor AK Ghosh wrote to Karandikar and said that Das should recuse himself from the meeting. “Debopam Das was named in the complaint made by Sadrela. Two SC/ST commissions recommended the removal of Dr Das from the board although a stay was obtained," Ghosh had written in the mail.

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