AGARTALA: The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has removed Tripura University (Central) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Vijaykumar Laxmikantrao Dharurkar on alleged 'corruption charges' and appointed senior-most professor of Botany department Sangram Sinha as the acting VC, a top varsity official said on Sunday.
"The MHRD has removed Dharurkar and appointed Sinha as the acting VC. Dharurkar has forced to hand over the charge to Sinha on Saturday night despite being a holiday," a top Tripura University, a Central varsity, official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
He said that professor V. L. Dharurkar, a professor of Mass Communication and Journalism at Marathwada University in Maharashtra before being appointed as the VC of Tripura University in July last year, left Agartala on Sunday for his home at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
While talking to IANS on Sunday, acting VC Sangram Sinha said: "I was under treatment in a Kolkata hospital. Yesterday (Saturday), I was asked by the MHRD to take over the charge of acting VC before I hurriedly returned to Agartala to do so."
"Now the MHRD would select a new VC following the necessary formalities. It might take few months," Sinha pointed out.
Welcoming the development, Tripura Higher Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath told IANS: "For the dignity and prestige of the University the steps were correct. Everything will be clear after the probe."
Last week, the axed VC Dharurkar was reportedly "caught on camera allegedly accepting bribes from a Kolkata-based printing firm in exchange for a bid of a contract worth Rs 60 lakh".
A video, clandestinely filmed by local news channel "News Vanguard" aired in the cable television channel, appears to show that Dharukar, negotiating a "cut money" (bribe) of 10 per cent of the contract for a printing job.
Another footage of the "News Vanguard" shows an exchange of bundles of currency notes from one bag to another in a room where Dharukar and another man were sitting.
The acting Registrar of the University Professor Sukanta Banik, had, however, in a statement on Friday strongly denied the allegations and claimed the videos had been doctored.
It was reported by the local media that Dharukar was also an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organisation associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
According to the media, Dharukar was accused of siphoning of Tripura University funds for non-academic purposes including purchase of lands and recruitment of huge number of guest teachers without the approval of the University Grants Commission and MHRD.
One of the guest teachers Moti Kapoor M. Moon, also from Maharashtra, was arrested by the police last month for attacking the office and assaulting two journalists of local leading English daily "Tripura Times".
Months after he was appointed VC of Tripura University, he was criticised for hoisting the ABVP flag at a campus event. He defended his action by claiming the ABVP is a cultural organisation.
The National Students' Union of India, a student organisation affiliated to the Congress, demanded a suo-moto probe and arrest of Dharukar.
"During the one year tenure of Dharukar so many crimes including rapes and attacks took place in the University campus, but Dharukar did not take any action due to political biasness," NSUI President Rakesh Das said.
Despite many attempts, Dharukar refused to talk to the media.
The existing Tripura University was set up in 1987 by the Tripura government and turned into a central university in 2007. It has some students from neighbouring Bangladesh.