The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Affiliation officer smug in the dark
- Judge probing affiliation scam suggested CBI probe into Sinha’s role

Calcutta, June 29: Much before the CBI was roped in, Justice Malay Sengupta had felt the need for the country’s premier investigating agency to look into the deals of former Visva-Bharati VC Dilip Kumar Sinha.

A probe by Justice Sengupta, ordered by the university following instructions from the President, had revealed that of the 40 institutions approved for Visva-Bharati affiliation during Sinha’s tenure, only four were registered under the Society’s Registration Act.

Lamenting the lack of “proper materials” in probing what could have prompted the then vice-chancellor to go into the affiliation deals, Justice Sengupta had said a “further probe by some other authorities, might be by (the) CBI also, would bring this aspect to light”.

He wanted several folds in the affiliation “aspect” to be scanned. How, for instance, the varsity tried to come clean by mentioning the name of Justice Chittatosh Mukherjee — who examined the scope and ambit of the provisions of an ordinance formulated to legalise the process of giving approval to other institutions — “at various places of resolutions and notifications”.

Or, how someone who was not even attached to the “Visva-Bharati administration in any capacity” was appointed officer on special duty (associate institution wing).

And finally, how the vice-chancellor did not take the academic and the executive council into confidence and gave “approval” “defying the provisions …”

Justice Sengupta’s report was submitted but not made public.

Sinha had selected a lawyer, Ansuman Bandyopadhyay, as the officer on special duty. Justice Sengupta’s report says that his appointment on February 26, 2001, was sudden. The officer’s job was to deal exclusively with matters of approval of external institutions.

He was made a member of all the teams that were sent out to scrutinise “the capability, etc.” of the institutions seeking affiliation. Bandyopadhyay had a different story to tell at the interrogation. The report says: “Bandyopadhyay simply said that during his several visits to Santiniketan, Prof. Sinha found fancy with him and wanted his service for the case of the university…”

The report says though Bandyopadhyay was officer of the wing responsible for granting approvals, he expressed ignorance about how applications from external institutions were invited, how the applications reached the university and how they were processed. “He restated that everything was done according to law and received the approval of the higher bodies like Karma Samiti.”

The 14-page report that now forms a key tool in the CID investigation, takes into account Sinha’s extension. His tenure was to end on June 24, 2000, but was extended by a year. Till June 24, 2000, only 12 institutions were granted approval but during his extended tenure, Sinha granted affiliation to 22 institutes.

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