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Land link in marks scam

Santiniketan/Calcutta, June 29: Dilip Sinha claims he did not know Mukti Deb before 1997, but the CID has pieced together evidence that suggests the two met as early as 1991.

During interrogation after his arrest — for alleged involvement in appointing Deb lecturer on the basis of fake marksheets — and even before, the former Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor had maintained that he could vaguely remember her.

She was just “another candidate” who appeared for an interview in 1997 before a board, which gave her the job.

Investigators then concentrated on Deb. “She broke down in the face of intense questioning and confessed that she knew Sinha for a long time,” a senior CID official said.

“We had a hunch about their long-term association. Now we have some evidence and are working on more clues to strengthen our case.”

The CID has documents that show Deb had done a UGC fellowship under Sinha in 1991-92 when he was Rashbehari professor at Calcutta University.

“In fact, Sinha was also supposed to send appraisal certificates every two-and-a-half months to the UGC. So there is no question about the fact that they knew each other,” said a senior officer.

A CID team recently found that Deb bought a plot on the outskirts of Bolpur in 1992 and later built a house there after being appointed lecturer in 1997.

In 1994, Sinha bought an adjacent plot at a nominal price. The former VC bought six cottahs along with three relatives.

CID officials said Deb also helped two of Sinha’s friends in senior positions in Vidyasagar University and Jadavpur University get plots for amounts ranging between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 per cottah. “…There is no doubt that both of them knew each other for a long time,” inspector-general (CID) Bhupinder Singh said.

Visva-Bharati authorities have decided to scan 37 appointments during Sinha’s tenure. Current vice-chancellor Sujit Basu said all documents would be thoroughly checked for any irregularities. “Our investigations are on in full swing,” he added.

For yet another day, CID officials could not question Sinha, who was shifted to an intensive care unit following chest pain last night.

“We had put him in a general bed, but his deteriorating condition forced us to shift him back to the ICU. He will be under strict observation for another four-five days. But he has been responding well to treatment,” said an attending doctor.

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