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Stay order on principal sack

Calcutta High Court on Tuesday extended its interim stay on the sacking of Manturam Samanta, the principal of Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, by the institution’s governing body.

The extension would stay till disposal of the case moved by the principal against his removal from the post on July 2 because of alleged financial and administrative irregularities.

The principal had moved a writ petition before Justice Dipankar Dutta on August 5.

The judge heard the case on Tuesday but adjourned the verdict sine die. “The interim stay order on the matter is extended till the final order,” he said.

“The governing body has taken the decision to remove my client on the basis of baseless allegations,” said advocate Subir Sanyal, the principal’s counsel.

“The prime allegation is he had not taken enough classes. After he joined the post on September 1 last year, the head of the commerce department failed to give him a single class in the first month. It is the duty of the department head to assign classes

“After a month, the Puja vacation started and the college closed again during Christmas. My client did not get any opportunity to take enough classes,” the lawyer submitted.

“My client had appointed 20 guest lecturers to take 160 classes. Was it a wrong decision? Actually, there were other reasons behind the decision (sacking). He had refused to accept some illegal proposals of some influential people.”

Samata was caught on camera speaking to a TV reporter last year about “recommendations” being made by several Trinamul leaders, including ministers, for admission to undergraduate courses beyond the sanctioned strength.

A teacher said the college governing body pulled up Samanta for speaking “out of turn” to the media.

“It brought charges of financial and administrative irregularities against him and asked the CU and the higher education department to initiate a probe,” said the teacher.

He has been accused of buying furniture worth Rs 2.72 lakh without informing the governing body and not depositing with the higher education department 50 per cent of the fees earned from the sale of application forms during the 2013-14 undergraduate admission season.

Women and child welfare minister Sashi Panja, who is a member of the governing body, had defended Samanta’s removal.

Advocate Laxmi Gupta from the prosecution side submitted: “He had not taken enough classes. There are allegations of irregularities, including financial, against him. The governing body had taken the decision in the interest of the college.”

Samanta’s counsel said the allegations couldn’t be substantiated.