NEW DELHI: Sushanta Duttagupta, Vice Chancellor of the prestigious Visva Bharati may become the first head of a Central University to be sacked after Union HRD Ministry recommended his removal, holding him guilty of financial and administrative wrongdoings.
Sources in the Human Resource Development Ministry said it recommended to the President Duttagupta's removal yesterday as it was "unconvinced" by his reply to the showcause issued to him in June.
Charges against Duttagupta included drawing salary from Viswa Bharati and pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University simultaneously in violation of the law. Under the law, he was required to have got his pension amount deducted from the pay he received from Viswa Bharati. He was also accused of getting personal bills for alcoholic beverages reimbursed by the university.
Besides these, Duttagupta was 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.
Though the existing laws relating to Central Universities do not provide for sacking of a Vice Chancellor, President Pranab Mukherjee can invoke section 16 of the General Clauses Act, 1987, to remove him. The Act empowers the appointing authority to suspend or dismiss any person appointed under a central act or regulation.
A three-member panel set up by the HRD Ministry and headed by former Allahabad High Court judge Justice (retd) Sakharam Singh Yadav had found him guilty of the charges in February.
Senior Congress leader from West Bengal and Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Bhattacharya had in June met the President to demand his removal, alleging the university was "losing its glory" under him. He had also raised the issue of alleged irrigularities committed by Duttagupta in Parliament.