MP High Court directs MHRD to look into charges against IIM Indore director

IIM Indore Main Campus (Photo Credit: Aashish Mylapally)

The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court under the jurisdiction of Justice UC Maheshwari, has ordered directed the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the chairman of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore board as well as other board members to issue a probe into financial allegations laid against Dr N Ravichandran, IIM Indore director to ‘consider’ a petition filed by seven IIM Indore faculty members charging Dr N Ravichandran, IIM Indore’s director with numerous financial and administrative irregularities.

On May 25, 2012, seven faculty members from IIM Indore, including Dr PK Singh, Dr Lalitha Sreenath, Dr S Dey, Dr Keyur Thaker and Dr A Kanagaraj filed a petition against Ravichandran charging him of committing ‘grave financial irregularities’, ‘illegalities’ and ‘plagiarism’. After hearing the petition, the High Court issued a directive on May 28, 2012 asking the MHRD, chairman and board members to launch the enquiry ‘to consider’ the petition and submit a report “on some early date probably within six months.”

The approximately 100-pages-long petition submitted by the faculty members blames Ravichandran for ‘misconduct’ during his term at the institute so far. The petition also includes documents that the faculty members state would support their claims. In addition to requesting an official enquiry by the High Court, the faculty members have also requested that Ravichandran be removed from the post of director for the period during which the matter was being looked into. However, the High Court does not reference this request in its directive.

About eight months ago, around eight faculty members had written a formal complaint to LN Jhunjhunwala, ex-chairman of the IIM Indore Board of Governors, blaming the director for dishonest behaviour and requesting the chairman to act upon the matter. According to sources, when the chairman had brought up the matter with Ravichandran, the chairman was requested not to react. However, when Jhunjhunwala expressed his wish to have a meeting with the concerned faculty members, his request was met with disapproval. Further discord between the chairman and the director occurred over a cheque bouncing matter related to the institute’s UAE campus.

Read: What caused the dispute between IIM Indore’s Director and Chairman, leading the Chairman to resign

Disturbed with the turn of events, on April 12, 2012, Jhunjhunwala sent in his resignation as chairman of IIM Indore board to the MHRD, alleging financial fraud and ill-behaviour by Ravichandran. Last month, KV Kamath, chairman, Infosys and former CEO, ICICI Bank had been appointed as the new chairman of the Board of Directors at IIM Indore.

Note: HRD Ministry officials today confirmed to this correspondent that they had received a copy of the petition along with the High Court directive to consider the petition. According to the official, the ministry will take a microscopic view and launch an inquiry into each point that has been raised in the petition. The official added, “The phrase ‘directed to consider’ as issued in the High Court directive is an all-encompassing demand by the Court to look closely into all the allegations mentioned in the petition, and present a report after a detailed probe into the matter.” The Ministry has already set the wheels in motion in the matter, the official claimed.