|Kalyani University VC Rattan Lal Hangloo
June 24: The Trinamul Congress students’ wing has accused the Kalyani University vice-chancellor of forcing students to file complaints to malign the state government, prompting the academic to declare that he would resign if any wrongdoing during his tenure could be proved.
“If anyone can prove any wrongdoing in the university after I took over, I would resign…. I am terribly hurt with the comments made by the student leader. Ideally, he should apologise for whatever he has said,” vice-chancellor Rattan Lal Hangloo told The Telegraph tonight.
“I do not belong to any political group…. I am here to build an institution and am making all efforts to achieve this objective,” added the academic who came to Kalyani from Hyderabad Central University.
Hangloo was brought in as part of chief minister’s Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to clean up higher education by appointing vice-chancellors selected by an independent search committee of reputable academicians.
The vice-chancellor, credited with busting the admissions racket in a BEd college now de-recognised by Kalyani University, was extremely reluctant to speak to the media but did so after he was told of the direct and personal allegation made against him.
Shankudeb Panda, state president of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad, had told a media conference earlier in the day: “The VC had forced the students to write false complaints against our student leader Tanmay Acharya…. This was just an attempt to malign his image and that of the student body. By doing all this, the VC was trying to portray the government in a poor light.”
Panda, asked for proof of his allegation, could not come up with any convincing answer till this evening.
Several students of Bhaktabala BEd College in Nadia had said in written complaints that Acharya, the general secretary of the students’ union at Kalyani University and a TMCP leader, had taken money from them to facilitate admissions to the college.
The explosive statement without proof against an academic who has volunteered to work in Bengal and has vowed to clean up the university came on a day the vice-chancellor was trying to help out the affected students on humanitarian grounds.
Hangloo announced that the university would find ways to ensure that the “victims” of the admission racket are allowed to sit for the exams. “These students hail from poor families and that’s why we have decided to spare them,” the vice-chancellor said.
Although the students may have been unaware that they were being admitted to unauthorised seats, they could not have been fully unaware that something wrong was taking place as they had received receipts for only a part of the money they had paid.
The caring teacher in Hangloo appears to be trying to avoid jeopardising the future of the 39 students — a move that education minister Partha Chatterjee also appeared to have suggested.
Chatterjee said in the Assembly today that he did intervene in the matter. “I have requested the university to see that the 39 students are allowed to write their final exam,” said Chatterjee.
Some university officials pointed out that the “request” from a minister in Bengal was as good as an instruction although the VC said he was not under any pressure.
Asked whether he had exerted pressure on the VC, the minister skirted the question.
When the minister was asked about the comments of his party’s student wing leader, Chatterjee said: “I won’t take responsibility for such comments.”
“I am determined to make education corruption-free…. I made it clear to Shanku no one will be spared if the probe panel finds anyone guilty,” Chatterjee added.
The minister was referring to a one-man inquiry committee he had formed to probe the cash-for-seats allegations in Bhaktabala BEd College. “The committee will also probe how the college obtained affiliation…. It has been asked to submit the report in a week,” the minister added.
Panda, the TMCP leader, had also claimed that “Tanmay and other student leaders had attempted to bring the case of excess admissions at the college to the VC’s notice earlier. But he did not act on the complaints.”
But sources in the university said one of the reasons the admission racket was busted was Hangloo’s attempt to set the house in order since he joined Kalyani University in November last year.
University sources said that the information available so far suggested that Hangloo had played by the rulebook.
First, he de-affiliated the college — in line with the rules of the National Council for Teacher’s Education — for admitting students in excess of the sanctioned strength.
Then, he forwarded the complaint letters — which the students had sent him after they were denied registration — to the state government seeking its intervention, following which he instituted an internal probe.