| Dilip Sinha: In the dock
Calcutta, June 25: Within two months of the sensational robbery of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize, his abode of peace is now at the centre of an embarrassing controversy.
Former Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Dilip Kumar Sinha was arrested by officials of the criminal investigation department from his south Calcutta residence early this morning for his alleged involvement in appointing a woman lecturer on the basis of fake certificates and marksheets.
The startling development has shocked not just Santiniketan but academic circles throughout the country. Sinha’s detention is the first time a person of the stature of a university’s former vice-chancellor has been put behind bars.
Sinha was picked up before daybreak, within 10 hours of Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s go-ahead and instructions to the CID top brass to wrap it up as soon as possible.
A team, led by two officers of special superintendent rank, raided Sinha’s residence and whisked him away a little after 4.30 am. The focal figure of the fraud, lecturer Mukti Deb who taught students of the university for over seven years despite being an under-graduate, was also nabbed from her residence a few hours before Sinha’s arrest.
“The evidence we have against Sinha is enough to prove that he had helped Deb to get the job knowing fully well that all her educational documents were forged,” said R.K. Mohanty, CID additional director general.
State home secretary A.K. Deb echoed him: “We have reason to believe there was mala fide intention on the part of Sinha.”
The sleuths booked the duo under four sections of the Indian Penal Code — criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery for cheating and using forged documents as genuine.
The accused were produced before a magistrate and remanded in the custody of Bolpur police, where Visva-Bharati registrar Sunil Kumar Sarkar, on behalf of the university authorities, had lodged an FIR on May 31. Sinha will be produced before Bolpur court tomorrow.
Deb joined the university as a lecturer of mathematics in 1997. Five years later, she sought permission from the university for doing a PhD. When the authorities told her to submit original documents, she produced a copy of an FIR saying she had lost all her originals and told the authorities that she had applied to both Calcutta University and Jadavpur University for copies. The university authorities became suspicious when Deb, instead of producing the original papers, said she was not interested in doing the PhD.
Early this year, the Visva-Bharati authorities contacted both Calcutta and Jadavpur universities from where, according to her certificates, she had passed her BSc, MSc and M. Phil and came to know all the documents were forged. She was removed from her job last May.
Mohanty said all the photocopies Deb had produced during her interview on January 16, 1997, had Sinha’s signature.
“Sinha attested all the photocopies. No one raised a question as he was chairman of the university’s selection committee. Deb was selected as a scheduled caste candidate,” he said.
“We came to know Sinha has known Deb and her family for long. We have enough reasons to believe he was aware of her educational background.”