Monday, November 18, 2013

The Strange Case of Prof. Joy Laskar

NYTimes has a long story on Prof. Joy Laskar who was fired by Georgia Tech three years ago for "misusing university funds" and arrested on "state racketeering charges" (but not charged -- at least, not so far). At the end of the story, I have no idea about what he did wrong (and neither does Laskar, the story seems to imply). Bizarre:


On googling, I found Joy Laskar's Story, a website maintained and updated by Joy Laskar and his wife Devi Sen Laskar. This time line appears to indicate he has won several legal battles against Georgia Tech.

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At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he was a professor of electrical engineering, Dr. Laskar did research on chip design. He mentored dozens of Ph.D. students and, over the years, started and sold a number of tech companies. The last one, called Sayana, created a promising wireless chip and was being courted by the likes of Samsung and Qualcomm.

But on May 17, 2010, agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, wearing bulletproof vests, raided his university offices. A parallel scene played out at Dr. Laskar’s home, where his wife, Devi Laskar, found armed agents in her driveway. While agents went through the house and confiscated files and computer equipment, she went to a coffee shop to call a lawyer.

“What were they looking for?” Dr. Laskar said in disbelief, recounting the event recently. “Cash under the bed? Chips in the ceiling?”

The day of the raid, there was to be an auction for Sayana. It never happened. Instead, Dr. Laskar was suspended without pay from his tenured position. He was later arrested on state racketeering charges and eventually fired by Georgia Tech, accused of misusing university resources.