Visva Bharati VC quits after failing to give reply on graft

Visva Bharati University Vice-Chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta on Thursday resigned from his office after failing to provide “satisfactory reply” to charges of “financial and administrative irregularities” levelled at him by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD).

He is reported to have resigned in an email to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Visitor of all central universities.

The MHRD, which is yet to issue a formal communiqué, reportedly asked Dattagupta to send a letter by post.

It is because his email to the President, forwarded to the MHRD by the Rashtrapati Bhavan secretariat, is not being considered a formal letter of resignation.

Indicted by panel
A MHRD committee, which was set up earlier this year to look into the VC’s conduct, indicted him of administrative and financial irregularities.

The three-member committee’s findings, submitted to the MHRD in March, received the President’s go-ahead in June after Dattagupta’s response failed to satisfy the ministry.
It was alleged that Dattagupta appointed a controller of examinations and sanctioned some key university posts in violation of the Visva Bharati Act, 1951.

In violation of law, the academic was also drawing pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University along with the salary he received as Visva Bharati VC.

‘Centre victimising me’
In his reply, Dattagupta took a different route and claimed the NDA government at the Centre and his detractors “within the university” were trying to victimise him.
According to sources, the committee, which found Dattagupta guilty of “gross misconduct” and “dereliction of duty”, submitted its final report to the President last week.

A PhD in Physics from St John’s University, New York, Dattagupta also faced a controversy last year when his name was recommended for Padma Shri but the honour was withdrawn after the West Bengal Commission for Women raised objections saying he faced allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure as the director of S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in 2005, a charge he has repeatedly denied.

Dattagupta, appointed as Visva Bharati VC in 2011, is also an adjunct professor at Pune’s Indian Institute of Science Education & Research since 2012 but its is not known whether he would be able to continue there. A Post-Doctoral Fellow from Carnegie-Mellon University in the US, he served at several leading institutes in India and abroad.
DH News Service

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