The Telegraph report on the scandal
July 31: The Trinamul Congress students’ wing has suspended a leader who has been accused of taking money in exchange for ensuring admissions beyond the stipulated capacity in a BEd college.
The action against Tanmay Acharya, the general secretary of the Kalyani University student union headed by the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), is the first such instance in student politics since Mamata Banerjee came to power.
He is the main accused in the cash-for-seats scandal at Nadia’s Bhaktabala BEd College that was de-affiliated by Kalyani University after the alleged irregularity was unearthed.
TMCP state president Shanku Deb Panda told The Telegraph tonight: “We suspended Tanmay Acharya at a meeting today. Now the (Kalyani) university authorities must take action against the university officials involved in the scam.”
Contacted tonight, Tanmay said: “I am shocked about the decision. But I have nothing to say on this. I was a loyal member of the organisation and will remain so.”
Some Trinamul leaders, including Panda, had initially thrown their weight behind Tanmay.
When The Telegraph and other media organisations had reported the scandal, education minister Partha Chatterjee had described it as “kinchit ghatana (trivial issue)”. “By overplaying the issue, Bengal is being shown in a poor light to other states,” Chatterjee had said.
Tonight, a Trinamul leader in Calcutta said: “In the recent past, Trinamul student leaders, including Panda, and members of a Trinamul-backed teachers’ association have often been accused of creating trouble on campuses. This has tarnished the image of the party.”
As many as 32 students had lodged complaints with the vice-chancellor of Kalyani University, Rattan Lal Hangloo, in June that they had paid amounts ranging from Rs 1.25 lakh to Rs 1.85 lakh to secure admission beyond the sanctioned number of seats at Bhaktabala BEd College. Many among them had accused Tanmay of taking money.
Hangloo had forwarded the letters to the higher education department seeking a probe.
In spite of the allegation, the TMCP’s Nadia committee had decided on July 16 to promote Tanmay as the joint working president of the TMCP in the district. The proposal was drawn up unanimously and endorsed at the TMCP district leadership’s meeting in Krishnagar.
Asked about this, Panda said he was yet to receive the proposal.
A TMCP leader, however, said: “It is not necessary to implement all proposals that come from the district committees.”
Sources said the Trinamul leadership had conveyed to its student body to suspend the controversial student leader. However, Panda denied any such pressure.