The CBI conducted raids at five premises of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan of West Bengal’s Birbhum district in connection with alleged irregularities committed by sacked vice chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta.
Two premises in the university and two centres in Bhubaneswar were also searched by separate CBI teams. Searches which began on Tuesday continued till late. Several incriminating documents are said to have been seized by the sleuths.
A team of 15 CBI officials participated in the raid at the university located within the Santinketan Complex in Bolpur town.
In Kolkata, raids were carried out at the university’s city office and residence of Dattagupta.
The CBI conducted the raids after filing an FIR against Dattagupta and three other officials of Visva Bharati on the directions of the central government.
The central probe agency booked Dattagupta, deputy registrar Shyamala Ray Nair, former registrar B. Gunashekharan (presently registrar, IIT, Bhubaneswar) and finance officer A.P. Trivedi under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI also questioned Mitra, Nair, and officiating vice-chancellor Swapan Kumar Dutta.
“The CBI officials sought details about appointment and finances of the university. They have made a list of documents required and these will be provided by the registrar’s office,” said Dutta.
It is alleged that University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines were flouted in the appointment process during the tenure of Dattagupta, who is also accused of drawing salary from the Visva Bharati University and a pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) simultaneously, sources said.
“It has been alleged in the FIR that Dr.S. Dattagupta in connivance with other accused officials appointed Shyamala Ray Nair as deputy registrar illegally in violation of UGC guidelines,” said a CBI official.
“The allegation is that Nair did not meet the educational criteria and exceeded the maximum age limit by at least by seven years,” the official said.
Dattagupta, who was appointed in 2011, had challenged the legality of the ministry’s fact-finding committee but his petition was dismissed by the Calcutta High Court.
The university was founded by the first non-European nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 and was declared a central university in 1951.