Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani is believed to have sent the proposal to sack Visva-Bharati University Vice Chancellor, Sushanta Dattagupta, to President Pranab Mukherjee all over again.
This after, President Mukherjee in December questioned the legality of the Union HRD ministry’s recommendation on sacking Dattagupta.
According to a report by Indian Express, Irani has received favourable legal opinion from the Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who felt the due process was followed in reaching the conclusion to sack the VC.
Smriti Irani-led HRD ministry had recommended Dattagupta’s removal on grounds of gross misconduct and dereliction of duty in its final report to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Dattagupta, who was appointed by the UPA and has one more year in his term left, is accused of making illegal appointments, drawing pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University along with his salary from Visva-Bharati without getting it deducted from his pay, and getting his liquor bills reimbursed by the varsity.
Dattagupta, though challenged the legality of the fact-finding committee formed by the government, his plea was shot down by the Calcutta High Court thereby prompting him to e-mail his resignation to Rashtrapati Bhavan on 30 September.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, which has reportedly informally conveyed its decision to sack Dattagupta, it wants Irani’s ministry to accept the resignation. But the central government isn’t keen on following this advice as doing so as would absolve Dattagupta of all the allegations.
Had President Mukherjee accepted Irani’s recommendations, this would have paved the way for what would have been the first-ever sacking of a central university V-C.