Visva-Bharati VC Resigns Amid Pressure

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Kolkata: After being show caused by the Human Resource Development Ministry, over allegation of irregularities, the Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal’s Shantiniketan has sent his resignation letter to President Pranab Mukherjee.

Dr Sushanta Dattagupta, 68, said that he has sent his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee and has also sought a hearing from the President. The move came after he was served a show-cause notice by the Human Resource Development Ministry, led by Union Minister Smriti Irani, over the alleged irregularities.

Sources in the Ministry said that Dr Dattagupta had emailed his resignation to the President and the government and he may be asked to file a hard copy.

The Ministry had set up a committee to probe allegations against Dr Dattagupta after the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha’s Winter Session last year by Congress Parliamentarian from Bengal Pradip Bhattacharya.

Once the committee framed its charges, the Vice Chancellor was asked to submit his response on why he should not be removed from the post over the charges framed by the three-member panel.

His response however did not satisfy the government, sources said. Charges against Dr Dattagupta included drawing salary from Visva-Bharati and pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University simultaneously in alleged violation of a law.

He was also charged with making irregular appointments, including that of the Controller of Examinations despite having no powers, and sanctioning key posts in violation of the Visva Bharati Act.

Last week, the Human Resource Development Ministry sent its report to the President and said the committee had found him guilty of gross misconduct and dereliction of duty, sources said.

If his resignation is accepted, Dr Dattagupta could be first Vice Chancellor of the Central university to be told to quit under the current dispensation.
He had been appointed the Vice Chancellor by Congress-led UPA government in 2011 and still had a year left in his tenure.

Founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, Visva-Bharati located about 160 kilometres north of Kolkata was declared to be a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.


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