Shillong(Meghalaya), June 14: The North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), dogged by controversy lately has further to contend with allegations of a conspiracy to derail the Biomedical Engineering Department (BED). It was one of the most thriving centres in NEHU till the hurried arrest of its Head, Dr. Dinesh Bhatia for alleged graft in November 2018.
Dr Bhatia was arrested within a few days of a complaint filed by his own student pursuing Ph.D, Raghuvendra Pratap Tripathi who is also a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) in a project under Dr Bhatia. He had accused Dr Bhatia of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000. This same scholar is now accused of harassing Dr Bhatia’s wife and three women employed in the ENVIS centre, also which used to function under the department.
Investigations confirmed a string of actions that points to a conspiracy such as the fact that NEHU authorities had failed to constitute an internal enquiry into the allegations as is rule.
Tripathi had directly filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which led to the arrest of Dr Bhatia. While the CBI claimed that the professor was arrested red-handed after a team laid a trap following the complaint, the investigation agency has failed to file a charge sheet even after seven months of arrest.
Ever since the arrest of Dr Bhatia, who is also the coordinator of the Environmental Information System Resource Partner Centre, the 4 officials under it were not paid since November, 2018 even as the Ministry of Environmental Science had directed the university to release the same.
The CBI has also given a no objection certificate. Sources said that it is surprising that while Tripathi got his monthly emoluments the 4 employees of ENVIS are still being punished for no fault of theirs.
Sources said while Tripathi had resigned as a staffer from the government-sponsored project ‘Design of Neural Network based Pacemaker,’ in April recently. He however remains a Ph.D scholar.
The staff has also accused Tripathi of eve teasing and stalking to harassing. “He has been verbally harassing us and passing lewd comments,” the staffs said.
While the case is still pending with the CBI, two complaints about harassments, unwanted advances and derogatory gestures meted out by Tripathi to the family of the professor had gone to the Registrar and the state police.
The complaints went unheard until another complaint was lodged on June 10. A case has been registered against Tripathi under sections 354 D and 509 of the IPC.
Sources said that the NEHU had granted him a room at the Japfu Hostel in December, 2018 even as admissions to the boys’ hostel usually ends in July. His room is now under lock and key and since then the whereabouts of Tripathi is unknown.
NEHU sources said that Tripathi had also quarreled with the NEHU finance officer and filed a complaint with the CBI again. However, unlike in the case of Dr. Bhatia, an internal inquiry was made which reported that it was Tripathi who had started the quarrel.
Surprising to many was the fact that a departmental colleague had gone ahead to give a voluntary statement in the CBI court allegedly falsely implicating Bhatia in the graft case.
“No Ph.D scholar will have the guts to take all these steps of harassing the wife, the staff and quarrel with the finance head of the university if he did not have the backing of powerful people in the university ” was how a source described the shenanigans of the research scholar.
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