NEW DELHI: Vice-Chancellor of Visva Bharati University Sushanta Dattagupta was on Monday sacked by President Pranab Mukheerjee for alleged financial and administrative irregularities, making him the first-ever V-C of a Central university to be dismissed.
Mukherjee’s nod came after the HRD Ministry recommended the V-C’s dismissal once again in January though he had forwarded his resignation to the President, visitor to the Central Universities, in October last. Dattagupta, appointed in 2011, had over six months of tenure left.
Opposition against his continuation grew ever since Congress MP from Bengal Pradip Bhattacharya raised the issue in Parliament in December 2014, accusing him of damaging the reputation of the institute by indulging in financial irregularities, nepotism and creation of posts without sanction. Under fire and faced with opposition from students and teachers, Dattagupta had shifted his office to Kolkata. A probe panel, headed by former judge of the Allahabad High Court, Sukharam Singh Yadav found him guilty of all charges and recommended his dismissal last year. Thereafter, the HRD Ministry recommended to the President to sack him, but then had to take the matter to the Law Ministry after Mukherjee sought legal opinion on the same. For a second time in November, the President had sought additional clarifications from the Law Ministry.
Dattagupta, in his resignation letter, had claimed he was not given a hearing before the probe panel, a plaint which weighed heavily on the President’s mind. Had Dattagupta’s resignation been accepted, he would have enjoyed all retirement benefits.