CBI raids Visva Bharati varsity, officers’ residences (Second Lead, changing dateline)

Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) The CBI on Tuesday conducted raids at five premises of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan of West Bengal’s Birbhum district in connection with alleged irregularities committed by its sacked vice chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta.

Two places here and two in Bhubaneswar were also searched by separate Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) teams and relevant incriminating documents were recovered. Searches at some of the places are still continuing as on Tuesday evening.

A team of 15 CBI officials participated in the raid at the Visva Bharati University located within the Santinketan Complex in Bolpur town.

The raids in the university’s office and residences of officials located in the campus lasted nine hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Kolkata, raids were carried out at the university’s city office and residence of Duttagupta.

The CBI conducted the raids after filing an FIR against Dattagupta and three other officials of Visva Bharati on the direction of central government.

The agency booked Dattagupta, deputy registrar Shyamala Ray Nair, former registrar B. Gunashekharan (presently registrar, IIT, Bhubaneswar) and finance officer A.P. Trivedi under sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI sleuths questioned Mitra, Nair, and officiating vice-chancellor Swapan Kumar Dutta.

“The CBI officials sought details about appointment and finances of the university. They have made a list of documents required and these will be provided by the Registrar’s office,” said Dutta.

It is alleged that University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines were not followed in the appointment process during the tenure of Dattagupta, who is also accused of drawing salary from the Visva Bharati University and a pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) simultaneously, said sources.

“It has been alleged in the FIR that Dr.S. Duttagupta in connivance with other accused officials appointed Shyamala Ray Nair as deputy registrar illegally in violation of UGC guidelines,” said a CBI official.

“The allegation is that Nair did not meet the educational criteria and exceeded the maximum age limit by at least seven years,” the official said.

Dattagupta, who was appointed in 2011, had challenged the legality of the ministry’s fact-finding committee but his petition was dismissed by the Calcutta High Court.

The university was founded by the first non-European nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 and was declared a central university in 1951.



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