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Anju Seth IIMC director resigns

Author: Kala Vijayraghavan
Publication: The Economics Times
Date: March 23, 2021
URL:   https://m.economictimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/anju-seth-iimc-director-resigns/amp_articleshow/81624343.cms?s=03

"During my tenure as Director of IIM-C, I have become aware of 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 provisio...

Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIMC) director Anju Seth has submitted her resignation to the PMO and the board citing interference by the chairman, unchecked conflict-of-interest, and open breach of government guidelines in matters of procurement and personnel. She has also accused the chairman with the support of the board of starting a process of maligning and denigrating her publicly.

In her letter addressed to the PMO and the board (ET has a copy) she said "I am deeply anguished at not being able to fulfil this mandate and help turn around IIM-C to a world-class institution with a distinctive Indian heritage. This situation has arisen because of a breakdown in confidence escalating over the past four months between me as director and CEO, and you as the chairperson of the board. To the best of my ability, I have been conducting my responsibilities as Director and CEO in the best long-run interests of the Institute with a focus on urgent reforms, forward-looking decisions and the interests of all stakeholders".

"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 stated.
https://m.economictimes.com/thumb/msid-81643487,width-640,height-480,resizemode-7/23-mar.jpg
"During my tenure as Director of IIM-C, I have become aware of 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. These governance problems have led to complaints and investigations by MoE, CAG, CVC etc".

"Additionally, serious academic and personnel issues required to be addressed. For example, there was an absence of a coordinated strategy with solid implementation plans for growth, curriculum had not been revised over decades, there existed flawed recruitment and promotion policies, wasteful resource management, weak work norms, and slow decision-making processes. Unlike other IIMs and renowned universities worldwide, no Code of Conduct existed at IIM-C. Commitments to donors were not met. An illustrative list of problems and issues applauded by many stakeholders (including numerous faculty members who were equally concerned about buttressing IIMC’s strong foundation for a sustainable future), this came in direct conflict with vested interests that resisted disruption of their legacy comfort levels".

"Since the commencement of the CVC investigation into the College Builder software procurement case in mid-2020, there has been an escalation of resistance from some faculty members who wanted to maintain the status quo, with anonymous and misleading complaints disseminated via leaks to media, and letters to the MoE. Attempts at reform have been scuttled by obstructing the functioning of Academic Council.

While you have never taken tough action to address the root cause of the governance problems at IIM-C (as was supported by Boards at other IIMs many years ago to bring about constructive change), when faced with this escalation, you have abdicated your responsibility to support this change despite it being urgently required in the best interests of the Institute. Instead, you have chosen an appeasement policy with some faculty, rolling back reform attempts and attempting to downplay irregularities uncovered during my tenure.Since the start of my tenure, you have 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"

In an earlier interview with ET she had said, "If we do not transform and reform, we will be left behind. We lost the opportunity of a gradual yet consistent change long ago,” Seth told ET in an interview.

In December, the faculty sent a letter to Amit Khare, secretary at the Ministry of Education, expressing “grave concerns about the current state of affairs at the institute, accumulated over the current director’s tenure, the result of a style of functioning that is arbitrary, discriminatory and having a very narrow vision”.

Seth, who was Pamplin Professor of Management at Virginia Tech in the US before she joined IIM-C as its first female head in November 2018, said she is tackling and resolving fundamental issues of good academic governance practices at the institute for transparency, accountability and meritocracy.

Being a woman and an “outsider”, it is easy to be a target for charges of autocratic or arbitrary behaviour, she had said.     

 


Mumbai: Hoteliers recount horror tales after ex-police chief’s allegations

Author: Diwakar Sharma
Publication: Mid-Day
Date: March 22, 2021
URL:   https://www.mid-day.com/amp/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-hoteliers-recount-horror-tales-after-ex-top-cop-param-bir-singh-s-allegations-against-anil-deshmukh-23164813?__twitter_ impression=true&s=03     

A day after former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s letter, claiming malpractices by the home minister, to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sources in the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) have told mid-day that suspended API Sachin Waze had allegedly started collecting money two months before Anil Deshmukh made the alleged demands. Sources also revealed how establishments were divided into three categories to derive their amounts. According to the letter, Waze met Deshmukh at the latter’s official residence, Dyaneshwar in February end.

Singh’s letter reproduced a chat with SSB Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sanjay Patil where Singh asked if Waze told him about the reason for his meeting with Deshmukh and Patil replied, “The purpose of meeting was, he told me that, 1750 establishment in Mumbai, he should collect Rs. 3 lakh per establishment for him also, which will be around 40 to 50 cr. (sic)” Sources said the use of the word ‘also’ could possibly mean that a racket was already in place and this demand was over and above that.

According to the letter, Deshmukh’s personal secretary, Mr. Palande, was also present during at least one of his meetings with Waze sometime in February. However, hotel owners said that Waze, allegedly in connivance with the Social Service Branch (SSB) officers, had been demanding and collecting money in December 2020 from bar owners, with the warning of impending raids.

“Waze had been running his shop at the CIU office inside the compound of the Commissioner of Police office in Crawford Market. He would call entrepreneurs from the Food and Beverage business and convince them to cough up monthly amounts. In return, he would assure us that SSB officials would not conduct any raids at our establishments. He also assured that we’d stay out of other legal troubles,” said a hotel owner.

“We got Waze’s horror service in the name of protection from the SSB raids. This happened soon after businesses resumed after the lockdown. It is hard to believe that Waze would be involved in such acts without keeping high-ranking officials in the loop,” said the owner of a well-known restaurant in Bandra.

Category-wise collection

Waze had allegedly listed bars into three categories: A, B and C. “The A category was supposed to shell out Rs 2 lakh a month, B had to pay Rs 1.5 lakh while C had to pay Rs 1 lakh,” said a bar owner. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had seized a currency-counting machine and over Rs 5 lakh cash from a Mercedes Waze used. “Waze must have needed the machine to count the cash he collected,” said a bar owner.

Those who refused to pay had to face a crackdown by the SSB that deals with ladies bars and hotels. “SSB carried out raids at hotels and bars and filed cases. The last SSB raid was in early February. After that, no raid was conducted as everybody agreed to pay the money to be able to operate,” a source said. Calls and messages to ACP Patil and DCP (Establishment) Dr. Raju Bhujbal went unanswered. Another senior member of AHAR said, “A few hotel and bar owners in Ghatkopar, Borivli and Worli had been collecting funds from nearby hotel owners and sending the money to Waze at the CIU office.”

Hotel and bar owners claimed that on Saturday, they were forced to shut shop at 9 pm. “We are at the receiving end and have become sandwiched between the fight of the home minister and Singh. Why should we shut our establishment at 9 pm if we have all the documents? We have already suffered a lot in the lockdown and if this tussle of ‘two titans’ continues, will we have to keep on suffering?” said an AHAR member.

Force tainted

Waze’s arrest in the Ambani bomb scare case has badly tainted the image of Mumbai police. “Kapde faad wali ladai chal rahi hai; tu mere kapde faad, lekin mai bhi tujhe nanga karunga. It is really very unfortunate,” lamented an IPS officer.

Comments are also being made on the apparently hurried reinstation of Waze. “On the pretext of giving him COVID duty, Waze was reinstated after a 16-year-long suspension in a custodial death case. He deserved a posting in the Local Arms (LA). Waze also roped in two officers and three to four constables close to him in the CIU,” an IPS officer said.

Mumbai police sources told mid-day that Waze would address Singh as ‘King’. “He had broken the chain of command. He’d report directly to the commissioner, who got involved in his cases like the TRP scam, Dilip Chhabria case, Hrithik Roshan fake email case and the arrest of Arnab Goswami by Raigad police,” said a Crime Branch source.

Another crime branch officer, who worked in the CIU for several years, said, “Waze did not deserve to head the CIU. Its heads include seasoned officers of senior PI or PI rank. The mystery of his appointment is being unravelled through this case.” “Instead of apprising the joint commissioner of police (crime), Waze would go directly to Singh,” said an officer who has worked in the CIU in the past.

 

 
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