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IB Officials Visit Ashoka University to Talk to Sabyasachi Das, Other Faculty Members

They could not meet Das as he was not present at the university at the time. Other faculty members also declined to talk to the officials.
Ashoka University

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has started looking into a scholarly paper published by Sabyasachi Das, a former Ashoka University Professor. The development comes after Das resigned from the university following the latter's attempt to investigate the paper on 'Democratic Backsliding in the World's Largest Democracy.'

IB officials visited Ashoka University on Monday, August 21, in a bid to meet Das and other faculty members of the economic department in relation to the academic paper. However, they could not meet Das as he was not present at the university at the time.

The other faculty members declined to meet IB officials, following which they returned. IB officials may again visit the university campus on Tuesday.

Das's paper has been a topic of debate since it was published last month. The paper "uses advanced econometric techniques to generate estimates of how many of the marginals seats in the 2019 general election that the BJP won might have been due to some form of 'manipulation." It must be pointed out that the paper available online is a working draft and is not the final version.

As per The Wire, following the publication of the paper, some investors of Ashoka University received calls from the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) and the Union Education Minister questioning the motives of Das.

The IB visit comes amid reports that the university may ask Das to rejoin the Economics department. Additionally, as per The Wire report, Ashoka University's FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) license is up for renewal next month.

The university is also facing protests from its faculty members on its decision to accept Das' resignation. Senior economics professor Pulapre Balakrishnan resigned, alleging a violation of academic freedom. After that, several departments of the university issued statements supporting Das.

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