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Principal removed

Calcutta, Aug. 2: The principal of Maharaja Manindra Chandra College in north Calcutta was today removed by the governing body that cited administrative and financial irregularities.

During an interview to a TV news channel last year, principal Mantu Ram Samanta had said several Trinamul leaders, including ministers, had recommended admission of students beyond the sanctioned strength. Samanta had wondered how he could do so.

Sashi Panja, the women and child welfare minister who is a member of the college governing body, said Samanta’s comments had nothing to do with his removal, which she said was ordered on the basis of probes that found him guilty of irregularities.

“There were several complaints against him and we had ordered inquiries. After receiving the reports of two probes, we had sought a clarification from Samanta. We were not satisfied with his reply,” Panja said. “He had been recruited as the principal of Manidra Chandra College on probation. We had not confirmed his services because of the adverse reports. His removal has nothing to do with his interview,” she added.

The charges against Samanta include making purchases worth Rs 2.72 lakh for the college without the consent of the governing body, the highest decision-making body of the institute.

“He also did not abide by an order to deposit with the higher education department 50 per cent of the earnings from last year’s undergraduate admission fees. He discontinued a vocational course without our consent,” a governing body member said.

Samanta could not be contacted.

A teacher of Manindra Chandra College, near Shyambazar, said most teachers of the institution were of the opinion that the charges against Samanta were not so grave as to warrant his removal.

The decision to remove Samanta was taken after the governing body went through the probe reports submitted by Calcutta University and the state higher education department.

Twelve of the 13 members of the governing body, including Samanta, were present at the meeting where the reports were discussed.

Sources said that although all the members except Samanta agreed on the charges against him, three requested the governing body president, Arun Chatterjee, not to remove him. Chatterjee is a leader of the Trinamul-backed West Bengal College and University Professors’ Association.