A team of Santiniketan police headed by officer-in-charge Kasturi Mukherjee (Chatterjee) on Monday interrogated former Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty for three hours in connection with three criminal cases lodged against him during his tenure in the varsity.
A police officer said the interrogation, held at the Visva-Bharati VC bungalow Purbita, was made after an order of Calcutta High Court.
"Today (Monday) we interrogated him for around three hours in connection with three cases, including his controversial comments on Durga Puja and Bengalis. The second round of interrogation will take place on Wednesday in connection with cases related to the controversial plaques and his letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee," said a senior police officer.
The Santiniketan police sent Chakrabarty summonses in connection with five criminal cases on November 9, a day after his five-year term as the VC was over, to interrogate him on November 10.
Chakrabarty then moved HC which issued an interim stay on the summonses, but asked cops to interrogate the former VC on November 20 and 22. The case will be heard again by HC on November 29.
Chakrabarty has not vacated the official bungalow. On Monday, through a press statement, Visva-Bharati said Chakrabarty informed through his lawyer that he needed to stay on there till November 30.
Sources said the varsity as well as the education ministry officials, whom interim VC Sanjoy Kumar Mallik met in Delhi on November 16, did not want any controversy over Chakrabarty's stay till November 30.
"On being enquired, the ministry was informed that on behalf of the former Vice-Chancellor, his legal advisor has submitted an email intimation on the 15th of November 2023 that he requires to stay on at the bungalow of the Vice-Chancellor till the 30th November 2023. The university is examining this intimation as per rules. The Vice-Chancellor (Acting) has been advised to ensure a dignified and graceful exit for the former Vice-Chancellor," the varsity press statement reads.
Some Visva-Bharati students are scheduled to protest from Tuesday, seeking Chakrabarty's eviction from the official bungalow.
In a statement, the acting public relations officer Mahua Banerjee said acting VC Mallik had been advised by the ministry to expedite the procedure to appoint the next VC.
Visva-Bharati said acting VC Sanjoy Kumar Mallik has been advised by the education ministry to install plaques with text sent by it to mark Unesco conferring World Heritage Tag on Santiniketan. The ministry has asked Mallik to complete the task immediately.
“The vice-chancellor (Acting) has also been advised that the installation of the official text of the statement for the Unesco recognising Santiniketan as a Heritage site, is of immediate priority. The ministry was informed that on receipt of the aforementioned draft statement, a committee has been immediately constituted to finalise the Bengali version of the text (as instructed) and to look through the text in Hindi and English for parity of statement across the three languages. The ministry was assured that for this issue too, the university has no intentions for unnecessary delay in carrying out the work,” the varsity press statement reads.