The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Principal cries CPM tyranny

Arambagh (Hooghly), Aug. 6: The principal of Arambagh Girls College, suspended on charges of defalcation of funds and dereliction of duty, has taken the fight to the district CPM, complaining that he was being victimised for not toeing the party line and giving in to the whims of the SFI.

The college governing body of 12 members, including CPM parliamentarian Anil Basu, suspended Bani Prasad Sen on July 31 without giving him a chance to defend himself. The move sparked a clash between the SUCI, backing Sen, and the SFI, supporting the suspension, throwing the admission procedure out of gear.

“The governing body of my college called an emergency meeting on July 31 and issued the suspension notice on the same day. This is strange because under normal circumstances, a person is first showcaused,” Sen said.

The local CPM and its student wing, the SFI, had a long-standing grouse against him and he was being victimised for not being a supporter, Sen said. “I do not visit the party office, which is why I have been punished.”

The principal said the trigger for the action against him was his refusal to accept an SFI proposal that a statue of Bijoy Modak, former CPM MP from Arambagh, who helped set up the college in 1995, be put up. “I refused, because it is more logical to set up the statue of the founder, Balai Krishna Roy,” Sen added.

The principal said the charges levelled against him were false and the audit was proof of it. He has been charged with dereliction of duty for not creating new posts and failing to introduce honours courses in the college. “I do not have such powers. It is under the jurisdiction of Burdwan University,” Sen claimed.

He recalled that sub-divisional officer Ashraf Ali Mullick and municipality chairman Gopal Kach were present at the governing body meeting though they are not part of it.

A one-member inquiry committee with Ashim Dey, CPM councillor and principal of Arambag Netaji Mahavidyalay, has been formed to investigate the charges against Sen.

When contacted in New Delhi, Anil Basu said: “Sen was told to submit necessary documents to the University Grants Commission to receive grants for the college, but he failed to do so. There are also charges of defalcation of funds. He has even forged my signature in the college audit, and all his allegations against the CPM are baseless.”

The SFI has decided to go ahead with installing Modak’s statue on the college foundation day on August 31.

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