‘Baseless Allegations’: IIM-C Board After Director’s Resignation

The BoG said that IIM Calcutta will continue to be run in the best traditions of good governance and transparency.

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Following Anju Seth’s resignation as the first woman director of the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta on 22 March, the Board of Governors (BoG) met on Wednesday, 24 March, to take notice of the resignation and accepted it with immediate effect.

Prof Subir Bhattacharya has been appointed as the new Director-in-charge.

In the statement, the Board regretted that at the time of leaving, Prof Anju Seth had made baseless and self-serving assertions against the Institute and the Board.

Seth’s resignation came a month after a dispute with the BoG, citing interference by the chairman, Shrikrishna Kulkarni, whom she accused of maligning her image and cited breach of government guidelines in hiring personnel, reported the Economic Times.

Seth had taken on the post in November 2018. Her resignation came a year before her term was to end on 22 February 2022.


Seth’s Reason for Leaving

Seth’s resignation letter, which was first reported by Economic Times, claimed that there had been a “breakdown in confidence escalating over the past four months” between Seth and the chairperson of the board.

“The Board chose to draw up various resolutions, alleging vague wrongdoings and condemning me without any evidence thereof, while denying me the opportunity to defend my actions (which were in the best interests of the institute),” the letter read.

Seth claimed in the letter that the institute had become open to several investigations by MoE, CAG, CVC, etc, after being plagued by numerous “legacy issues related to lack of transparency or accountability, misuse of public funds, cases of abdication of responsibility, a weak financial situation with little provision for future”.

Seth outlined certain serious academic and personnel issues that had not been addressed, including a curriculum that had not been revised for over decades, wasteful resource management, slow decision-making processes, no Code of Conduct, and lack of commitment to donors.

The Conflict

In December 2020, around 61 teachers, who account for more than 75 percent of the IIM-Calcutta faculty, had complained against Seth in a letter to Amit Khare, secretary at the Ministry of Education, alleging centralisation of powers by Seth. They alleged that their administrative powers had been taken away and accused her of being discriminatory and having a “narrow vision”.

Seth concluded her resignation letter stating that the chairman assumed “executive powers to diminish the role of the Director and of the faculty by persistent intervention, although the post of the Chairman is a non-executive part-time role”.

Seth has a doctorate from the University of Michigan and had earlier worked with Virginia Tech, University of Illinois and the University of Houston.

The BoG said that IIM Calcutta will continue to be run in the best traditions of good governance and transparency and wished Seth a “speedy recovery and best wishes.”

(With inputs from Economic Times.)

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