File photo of IIM-Rohtak | @IIM_Rohtak | Twitter
File photo of IIM-Rohtak | @IIM_Rohtak | Twitter
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New Delhi: The appointment of Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Rohtak director Dheeraj Sharma is under the scanner over alleged irregularities.

According to a petition filed last year in the Punjab & Haryana High Court against his selection, there are discrepancies in the educational qualifications he has mentioned in his records. 

The petition by a Right to Information activist and a Delhi-based lawyer has claimed Sharma didn’t submit supporting documents at either this institute or at IIM-Ahmedabad, where he worked earlier. 

Questions have also been raised about his eligibility, with the petitioners alleging that Sharma didn’t have the requisite work experience to hold the post.  

The petitioners have questioned the role of the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in “overlooking” the gaps, and even sought the inclusion of IIM-A as a party at the last hearing of the case in February.

Approached for comment, IIM-A defended the appointment. Emails to IIM-Rohtak and the HRD ministry had not elicited replies until the time of publishing, while Sharma could not be reached for comment despite calls and an email.

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Many questions raised

According to the January 2019 petition, a copy of which is with ThePrint, Sharma’s promotion as professor in IIM-A was flawed because he hadn’t completed 10 years teaching, as is required. 

“Details of experience furnished by Sharma in his CV make it evident that in 2014 at the time of his promotion at IIM-A he had not completed 4 years experience as associate professor at IIM-A or any other institute and that makes him ineligible for post of professor,” the petition states.

It adds, “It is rather surprising that despite being underqualified and ineligible, the Faculty Recruitment Committee of IIM-A in a grossly illegal manner appointed and thereafter also promoted Sharma at IIM-A and more so in the absence of any information on his qualifications.”

In this light, the petitioners have argued, he wasn’t qualified for appointment as IIM-Rohtak director either.

“Illegal appointment in IIM-Ahmedabad had gross implications on his appointment as director IIM-Rohtak,” the petition adds.

The petitioners have also alleged that Sharma concealed information about his original degrees, including Bachelor’s, Master’s and MBA, from both IIM-A and IIM-Rohtak and refused to furnish them to the HRD Ministry. 

The petitioners have said that they filed an RTI query that had revealed discrepancies between Sharma’s claims and his original degrees. The claim, the petitioners say, is proved by annexures attached to the petition.

The petitioners have claimed the HRD ministry cleared Sharma’s appointment as IIM-Rohtak director without verifying his documents with him.

On the basis of the petition, the court had last year sent a notice to the ministry and IIM-Rohtak, seeking their replies. On 26 February, when the case was last heard, a notice was also issued to IIM-A after the petitioners moved a plea seeking its inclusion as a party.

In an emailed response to ThePrint, IIM-A defended Sharma’s appointment as professor. 

“At the time that Prof. Dheeraj Sharma was appointed, the institute followed the process that was applicable at the time. He was already an associate professor at universities in Canada for three years before joining IIM-A,” it said. 

“At the level of associate professor, past academic credentials such as graduation, postgraduation, 10th etc are not considered because the institute emphasises current work and potential for research and teaching in the future and not past laurels,” it added. “IIM-A has a laid-out process for appointment as faculty at professor level, and those were followed in the case of Prof Sharma.”

The identity of the petitioners mentioned in this report has been updated to RTI activist and Delhi-based lawyer 

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