The directive was issued on the basis of an order from a court in Gwalior, said Gulshan Rai, director general of CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team-India). The order signed by Subodh Saxena of the department of telecommunications (DoT) was issued on Thursday and was reported earlier on Friday by the Medianama website.
Interestingly, the URLs listed include a University Grants Commission (UGC) notification that IIPM is not a university and “does not have the right of conferring or granting degrees as specified by UGC.”
The move comes amid criticism of the government for recent steps that have been regarded as attempts to curb freedom of speech.
DoT couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. UGC and IIPM representatives also couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
IIPM has been the subject of several critical articles in various publications, including Outlook, Careers 360 and Caravan. A controversy had blown up in 2005 over attempts to gag a blogger critical of IIPM. That site too is among those ordered to be blocked.
Other URLs include stories on sites of publications such as The Indian Express, The Economic Times and blog posts on The Wall Street Journal site among others.
IIPM used to be a significant advertiser in large mainstream newspapers such as The Times of India and Hindustan Times until recently.
A recent IIPM ad says its course fee is between Rs 14.75 lakh and Rs 18.75 lakh. In the last two years, revenues of the education arm have grown at 32% a year. Yet, on revenues of Rs 533 crore, the group posted a net loss of Rs 4 lakh, after paying less than Rs 5 crore as income tax. A possible explanation for this lies in two traits endemic to its operating style: big cost heads and many transactions between group companies.