As part of internal investigations, Vice-Chancellor of the North Bengal University Subiresh Bhattacharya has spoken to the Controller of Examinations over the phone from Kolkata, and discussed the alleged involvement of a Siliguri College teacher and some university staff in the purported cash-for-marks scandal that has rocked the region, officials said today.

A section of educationists have raised several questions against the University authorities and has sought NBU’s internal departmental inquiry, along with the police probe.

“The VC has spoken to the Controller of Examinations over the phone. I don’t know what transpired between them. Let the VC return. He must take appropriate action. He will be coming soon,” NBU Registrar Dilip Kumar Sarkar said.

“We cannot say anything more before the departmental investigation begins. Examinations and results are very sensitive. Everything will be done by maintaining their sanctity,” Dr Sarkar said, adding, “We have asked police to probe the matter thoroughly and even asked to investigate alleged involvement of university staff.”

Reacting to the allegations, former NBU Registrar Tapas Chatterjee has said a high-level inquiry should be conducted. “NBU authorities should start departmental inquiry into the matter,” Mr Chatterjee added.

On the other hand, the Governing body of the Siliguri College will hold a meeting to discuss the issue tomorrow and will adopt a resolution over the alleged involvement of the college’s Head of Department, Political Science, Amitabha Kanjilal, in the matter. The body will act on a written complaint filed by a casual girl student of the BA final year.

Notably, the student purportedly called Mr Kanjilal thrice and the audio recordings of the conversation between them went viral on social media. In one of the audio clips, the alleged teacher asks the girl to bring money at a particular location near a school in Siliguri.

A member of the Governing Body of Siliguri College said police can easily identify the caller and continue investigations in the right direction. It may be noted that Mr Kanjilal was close to the CPI-M leadership and is associated with several organisations in the cultural arena. Sources said Mr Kanjilal has already consulted legal experts about the matter.

A section of the people associated with both the college and the university, however, said that such malpractices are “nothing new.” In the last two-three decades, university authorities received several complaints about malpractices related to candidates’ applications for review of answer scripts and scrutiny of tabulation sheet, they claimed.

“But no exemplary action was taken after they failed to identify the culprits behind such malpractices,” sources said.

“But this time, owing to technology, stern action can be taken if both the police and university authorities investigate the allegations properly,” they added.

However, another section is not hopeful that NBU authorities would be able to do something against such malpractices and the accused teacher.

The BJP has criticised the matter, blaming both the CPI and the Trinamul Congress for corruption in the education system.

In a video message through social media, Director of the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, Anirban Ganguly, raised this alleged cash-for-marks issue and the role of the North Bengal University under the present VC and Registrar, “who are controlled by state education minister Partha Chatterjee.”

“The VC is absent in the NBU campus since March, showcasing the Covid-19 pandemic. Registrar Dilip Sarkar, who was terminated on charges of financial scam during the Left regime, has been reappointed as Registrar after Subiresh Bhattacharya joined. Significantly, Trinamul Congress was more vocal against the ‘corrupt’ Registrar Dilip Sarkar. But Sarkar was reinstated by setting up a Tribunal during the Trinamul regime after Bhattacharya joined as VC,” he said.