There is a story about, I think, Bavaria — The King was angry with a farmer, and said something to the effect that his assets will be confiscated. The farmer, undaunted, replied “There is still Independent judiciary in this country”. Autonomy of certain institutions is absolutely essential, and, scholarly institutions certainly need their autonomy. Here is D Balasubramanian in The Hindu on the issue.
I am not aware of the details of the exact nature of the controversy. However, Dr. Balasubramanian’s article is more accusing in tone than giving out the details of the issue — what was the ostensible reason (if any) for the dismissal of Dr. Venugopal? Though Dr Balasubramanian says this,
but is it not true in the present instance that 40 years of medical experience and over 25 years of cardiac research were rubbished by power and authority resting on an accident of ministerial portfolio, which may come and go?,
he does not elaborate whether the decision to sack him is related to any issue related to medical experience and cardiac research, since that would have strengthened his case — as of now, with due apologies to Dr Balasubramanian, the entire article reads in the I-am-a-professional-supporting-my-colleague-who-is-wronged tone.
Having said this, I think the following conclusion is unquestionable:
Unless non-government money flows in good measure, the autonomy of academic and research institutions would take a long time coming in India. Without that, how do we live up to the role the world expects of us?
which, again, in a way, endorses my earlier suggestion that government should stop funding nano research related to technological issues (except where it concerns military applications), and that scientists should be able to convince industry to fund them instead of approaching the government.