NEW DELHI: The CBI has registered an FIR against former Visva Bharati University vice-chancellor Sushanta Duttagupta for alleged corrupt activities during his tenure, officials said on Wednesday.
The action comes after a two-year-long preliminary enquiry (PE) into the allegations levelled against him during 2012 and 2013.
In the first instance of sacking of the head of a central university, the then President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the dismissal of Duttagupta, a physicist, on February 15, 2016, on the basis of a recommendation from the Union Ministry of Education.
The President is the Visitor of the Visva Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Shanti Niketan, West Bengal.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation three complaints against Duttagupta related to alleged financial irregularities, violation of rules, and misuse of official position, among others.
The CVC had also attached a report of an education ministry committee that looked into the allegations and corroborated them, according to the officials.
Based on the reference, the CBI conducted a PE.
It has prima facie shown that Duttagupta allegedly hid the fact that during his tenure as the VC he was also getting pension from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, thus receiving excess payment of over Rs 13 lakh, the officials said.
The allegations against him also pertain to hiring a private law firm, which charged higher fees than government-approved counsels, to represent the university, they said.
The PE also found that Duttagupta paid Rs five lakh as honorarium to a retired judge for conducting a departmental enquiry which was against all rules, the CBI has alleged.
The education ministry had sent the file to Mukherjee recommending Duttagupta's dismissal over allegations of financial and administrative irregularities.
Mukherjee twice returned the file to the ministry, asking whether denying the VC a "hearing in person" on the allegations levelled against him was legally tenable.
However, after the law ministry backed the education ministry's view, the file was again sent to the president paving the way for Duttagupta's dismissal.