June 20: A Trinamul student leader has been accused of taking money to facilitate “out-of-turn” admissions in a BEd college associated with Kalyani University, prompting the vice-chancellor to cancel the institute’s affiliation and take the uncommon step of seeking a government probe.
As many as “32 students have named Tanmay Acharya (the general secretary of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad at the university) in their complaint letters,” Kalyani University vice-chancellor Rattan Lal Hangloo said.
“The money was taken from the students promising them out-of-turn admission. I have forwarded the complaints to the higher education department. We will also launch an inquiry. If he is found guilty, the university will expel him,” added Hangloo, a former history professor at Hyderabad University who joined as Kalyani vice-chancellor in December.
The college has been identified as Bhaktabala BEd College of Chapra, Nadia. In a state bereft of employment opportunities, a BEd course is the straw thousands of educated youths clutch at in the hope of landing teachers’ posts in schools.
“I have already cancelled the affiliation of the college. The college will not be allowed to admit students for the next academic session,” Hangloo said.
Acharya, a post-graduate student of library science at the university, claimed a Left conspiracy.
“Many students come to me for help. I helped these students as a responsible students’ body leader. Every year I introduce many students to many private college authorities for BEd courses. I am not associated with the Bhaktabala College and never took any money from anyone. These allegations are false and are being levelled only to malign me and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad. I suspect a section of teachers owing allegiance to the Left are behind this conspiracy,” the union leader said.
Vice-chancellor Hangloo has requested a detailed probe by the higher education department, to which he has forwarded the complaints, because some senior university officials and professors have also been named.
Higher education department officials could not recall any other instance of a vice-chancellor in recent years showing the courage to launch an inquiry into admission-related complaints against a student union leader close to the ruling party. “During admissions, allegations of irregularities against the student unions is nothing new. But no university has acted on such allegations,” an official said.
“The Kalyani VC has shown the guts to initiate an inquiry into the charges although the general secretary of the Trinamul union is named,” said the official of the university branch section of the higher education department, to which the complaints were forwarded.
Bhaktabala BEd College was set up in 2011 when Alok Banerjee was the vice-chancellor and has 100 seats sanctioned. But in the 2013-14 session, it admitted 139 students, a complaint said.
A senior university official said that according to the complaints, after admitting students to the 100 sanctioned seats “the college took Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.7 lakh each from the 39 students and admitted them. This is illegal”.
One of the complainants, who requested not to be named, said he had paid Rs 1.2 lakh to Tanmay Acharya last September. “Later I got a receipt for Rs 40,000 from the college, which is the course fee. But despite repeated requests to the college authorities, we are yet to receive the registration number from the college and admit card for the first-year exams.”
University sources said that the students had complained to the vice-chancellor after they failed to get their registration numbers, without which they cannot sit for the exams next month.
“The college has 100 sanctioned seats and there can be only 100 registration numbers,” a university official said. “It appears the college cheated these students.”
The owner and secretary of the college governing body, Amar Biswas, did not take calls or respond to a text message requesting him to call back.
Hangloo has called a meeting on Monday to decide what disciplinary action can be taken against those responsible.
“I am shocked to see some names, which are associated with the university. I have, therefore, sought the intervention of the state government,” the vice-chancellor said. “My objective is to clean corruption from the university. If found guilty, university officials and teachers will be removed. If any student is found guilty, he will also be expelled.”
Asked why he had not approached police, Hangloo said: “As the college is privately owned, I think it is only right that the state government is the right authority to take a decision.”
A senior official of the higher education department said: “If the charges are found to be true, the university would be asked to initiate necessary action. The university can, however, on its own take action on the basis of its own probe.”
The state president of the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad, Sankudev Panda, blamed the university for the excess admission.
“The general secretary of the student union does not hold any administrative position to get students admitted. The controller of examinations and the inspector of colleges of the varsity were supposed to check such irregular admissions. What were they doing for the past one year?” Panda asked. “We demand a probe into the role played by the university authorities. All students should be allowed to write the exam,” he said.
The vice-chancellor said the 100 legitimate students of the college would sit for the exams that begin on July 7. “It is the university’s responsibility that the legitimate students are not affected by the scrapping of affiliation,” he said.