poulomi ghosh
KOLKATA, 9 JUNE: While Presidency University is deep in controversy over the Benjamin Zachariah episode, an external member of the moderation committee of the History Department has written to the Vice-Chancellor, questioning the validity of the committee. This is because the external members were invited to join the committee over phone and they do not have any formal invitation from the university authorities.
In her letter addressed to V-C Professor Malabika Sarkar, Prof. Tapati Guha Thakurta has said the entire process deviated from "what is considered to be proper official procedure". The director of Centre for Studies in Social Sciences was invited on the question paper moderation committee of the History Department as the nominee of the V-C. Apart from her, Prof. Lakshmi Subramaniam is another external member of the committee.
"I never received any formal letter of invitation to be the external expert in the moderation committee, neither for its meeting on the UG examination questions in April nor for the PG examination questions in May. Everything happened only through phone calls," wrote Prof. Guha Thakurta. 
In the letter she expressed her wish to resign from the committee after her name was dragged into the controversy of tampering of question papers of PG examination which will commence from tomorrow. 
"I received the letter and I spoke to both the external experts. Prof. Guha Thakurta was aggrieved as her name got linked with the tampering of question paper controversy. But I assured her no such thing happened. It is the same question that the moderation committee prepared. Only, instead of being a take-home paper as verbally proposed by Prof. Zachariah, it will be a conventional paper. Both of them have confirmed that they will be with us," said the V-C.
Admitting the grievance of Prof. Guha Thakurta for not receiving any official invitation, the V-C said: "This is the practice of all the departments of the university. The external members receive a copy of the certificate signed by the head of the department after they attend a meeting. No external member has any formal invitation. Still, I have told them that my office would issue formal invitation letters if they want."
Though Prof. Guha Thakurta, in her letter, said she had received a call from the university to drop the "take-away" questions from the paper, the university authorities dismissed it. "She was called to provide some additional questions for the examination of extra departmental History as many questions were out of syllabus. That paper was also set by Prof. Benjamin Zachariah," said an official of the university.