Friday, May 31, 2013

VU refunds sum misappropriated by former V-C

The Statesman: Midanapor: Friday, May 31, 2013.
The Vidyasagar University has refunded the money misappropriated by its former Vice-Chancellor to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
But, surprisingly the money has been sent from the varsity’s own exchequer instead of instructing the former V-C, Professor Swapan Kumar Pramanick, to pay back the sum with interest to the UGC.
A demand draft (no. 975012) with a cover letter by the university registrar dated 22.04.2013 (now in possession of The Statesman) to the UGC secretary reads: “The matter was placed before the seventh Executive Council meeting held on 17 April and it was decided that the amount of Rs 60,976 along with interest be refunded to the UGC.
“We expect the UGC will appreciate the spirit motivating the authorities of Vidyasagar University in sanctioning the grant/financial assistance in favour of Professor Pramanick, the former V-C, and be kind enough to regularise the matter treating it as grant for the V-C’s educational trip by making necessary official adjustments as all teachers and officials of the university are entitled to receive travel subsidy from the UGC unassigned grant,” the letter said.
However, Mr Abhijit Guha, a teacher of the Department of Anthropology at VU since 2010, was not happy with the university's decision.
Mr Guha had filed more than 30 RTI applications, several first appeals and a few second appeals to Vidyasagar University, Calcutta University, UGC, West Bengal and Central Information Commissions and a number of complaints to the Vice-Chancellors of VU, UGC chairman, chairman of the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education and the Governor which compelled the authorities to refund the amount misappropriated by the former V-C in connection to his Beijing tour during July 2004. “The money should have been recovered with interest from Prof. Pramanick since the university has no moral right to compensate misappropriation from its exchequer created by the state government and students,” said Mr Guha.
While refunding the money, VU authorities did not care to consult chairman of the WBSCHE Prof. Sugata Marjit.
Surprisingly, the written views of Prof. Pramanick was considered by the VU executive council in its meeting held on 1 March 2013 but the views of Prof. Marjit were not placed in the subsequent meeting of the EC held on 17 April 2013, although the EC was supposed to do so according to its own resolution adopted in the 1 March meeting. 
Incidentally, a two-member inquiry committee was formed by the WBSCHE and Mr Subrata Ghosh, the member secretary of the council, in a letter dated 1 February 2013 (in possession of The Statesman) addressed to Prof. Ranjan Chakrabarti, the V-C of VU, stated: “The Hon’ble chairman, WBSCHE, is of the opinion that if the explanation sought from Prof. Pramanick is unsatisfactory, an effort to recover the amount of Rs.60, 976 from him should be initiated.”