Bimal Roy was, until a few days ago, the director of the Indian Statistical Institute, a graduate institute based in Kolkata. He is well-known in cryptography for his work on block ciphers. He was also awarded the Padma Shri last year, one of the highest civilian awards in India.
My interactions with him were limited, but I have generally been impressed by the huge summer internship program for Indian undergraduates that he runs at ISI.
Roy was just removed from his position by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, citing concerns about potential "indiscipline". The reasons are almost comically vague:
"A number of general and specific matters of financial and administrative irregularities which show the direct or supervisory responsibilities for acts of omission or commission on the part of the present Director, Prof. B. Roy are available in the Ministry in the various files on the different subjects. "
Below is an account of the events leading up to his dismissal written by Roy's colleague and former Ph.D. student, Sushmita Ruj. I copy her email here verbatim.
I don't know the facts of the story, but I am inclined to believe Sushmita's account. The lack of transparency should be especially troubling for academics, in India and elsewhere.
This is Sushmita Ruj, writing from the Cryptology group of Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
Professor Bimal Roy, the leader of our group, has been removed from the post of Director of the Indian Statistical Institute with a special emergency order issued by out governing Ministry (MoS&PI) on 10 June 2015. He was about to complete his five year term as Director on 31 July 2015.
The Ministry has expressed its apprehension that Prof. Bimal Roy may indulge in "propagation of indiscipline and mischief, including acts of financial and administrative impropriety" if he continues as the Director. However, neither has it put forward any formal charge against Prof. Roy, nor has it offered him the basic courtesy to defend himself before the decision was taken. There was no show-cause served to Prof. Roy at all, and the grounds for the decision seem quite fragile:http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/Order_ISI_10jun15.pdf
As we understand, this drastic decision from the Ministry is orchestrated by the Chairman of our Institute, Mr. Arun Shourie, who allegedly tried to coerce Prof. Bimal Roy into signing the proceedings of our last Council Meeting, in which the selection of the new Director of the Institute was considered. Allegedly, the drafted proceedings of the meeting was substantially different from the actual incidents at the meeting, especially on the issue of the selection of the new Director, and hence Prof. Roy refused to sign the proceedings. This is the only issue that may have been considered as "indiscipline" on Prof. Roy's part, as far as we know.
To verify the truth in this matter, a senior Professor of our Institute filed a written petition (RTI) to obtain the audio recording of the meeting, and the hearing of the RTI was due on 11 June 2015. It is quite an amazing coincidence that the Ministry took the decision of stripping Prof. Bimal Roy of all his powers as the Director just the night before, in the afternoon of 10 June 2015. Not to mention, the RTI hearing has been postponed at once. This raises a strong suspicion that the Ministry, supporting the Chairman of the Institute, is aiming at suppressing the audio recording of the meeting to avoid a transparent investigation into the matters at hand.
Professor Bimal Roy has dedicated his life for services to the Nation, and this is not what he deserves from the Institute which has gained from his leadership in the last five years more than it probably has under the leadership of any other Director in the recent times. Prof. Roy, and our Institute, deserves a transparent independent public investigation. The audio recording and proceedings of the Council meeting should be released and investigated by independent authorities. Prof. Roy should be offered a chance for a fair trial, independent of the actions by the Ministry, and till the investigation is over, Prof. Roy should be reinstated as the Director of our Institute, till 31 July 2015, the end of his rightful term. At the end of his term, Prof. Bimal Roy deserves a vote of thanks from the Council for his services to the Institute during the last five years, and not a humiliating send-off. This is simply unacceptable!
If you support the cause, and want justice for Prof. Bimal Roy, please convey your thoughts to the Hon'ble President of India at the following email IDs.
Public Grievance Cell : Mr. Purushottam Dass
Private Secretary to the President : Mr. Rajneesh
Private Secretary to the President : Mr. Pradeep Gupta
You may also write directly to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India through the online portal at : http://pmindia.gov.in/en/interact-with-honble-pm/
I request you to propagate the news in the concerned academic community, government organizations and public media that you deem suitable, and sign-and-share the online petition supporting the cause.https://www.change.org/p/the-prime-minister-of-india-independent-public-investigation-of-the-improper-and-unwarranted-divestiture-of-prof-bimal-k-roy-from-all-powers-ascertained-as-the-director-of-the-indian-statistical-institute?recruiter=316366071&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition
It will be nice to have the community support Prof. Bimal Roy in these dire times. Please feel free to write to him directly as well.