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1995 reject found fit two years later

Santiniketan/Calcutta, June 28: A higher secondary-level math problem had proved too much for Mukti Deb when she appeared before a Visva-Bharati interview board in 1995.

Two years later, she joined the university as lecturer in applied mathematics.

CID officials, who are probing the marksheet scandal that has led to the arrests of both Deb and former vice-chancellor Dilip Kumar Sinha, said two other “suitable” candidates who appeared for the 1995 interview were also rejected.

“It is clear that the powers that be, led by Dilip Sinha, the chairman of the selection committee, wanted to ensure that Deb got a second chance. Her second chance came in 24 months’ time and then she was the automatic choice,” a CID official said.

While vice-chancellor Sujit Basu confirmed that Deb appeared for an interview in September 1995, some members of the then interview board gave a vivid account of Deb’s performance. They said Deb appeared “very confused” and could not answer simple questions. The six-member committee — comprising two external experts, three internal members and Dilip Sinha — then asked her to relax and not get tense.

A little later, one of the members asked Deb to solve a higher secondary-level math problem. “She nervously handed the paper back and surprisingly had failed to solve the problem at all and appeared very shaky,” the member added.

After about 10-15 minutes, Deb was asked to leave. The two other candidates who appeared for the interview were “mysteriously” rejected by the board chairman, the member said.

“After the interview was over, Sinha wrote that none of the candidates was good enough for the post of lecturer. He wrote this in his official report and all the remaining members of the committee had no choice but to put a counter signature. It was a unanimous decision to reject all of them,” said the then head of department of mathematics, Jayanta Bhattacharya.

Investigators are verifying information that a senior CPM leader pushed Deb’s candidature for the lecturer’s post in 1997. The police are also trying to find out how Deb got hold of original marksheets to forge her marks from both Jadavpur and Calcutta University. “Someone must have supplied her a blank marksheet,” a CID official said.

Visva-Bharati officials have showcaused a reader on the suspicion that he may not have done his PhD. Today, Basu announced that all recruitments over the last 10 years would be scrutinised. Bolpur police and the CID have launched fresh searches in and around Santiniketan for members of a gang who might provide leads in the Nobel theft case.

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