Barely hours after a three-member team, claiming to be from the HRD Ministry, visited La Martiniere for Boys school on Wednesday, Minister Kapil Sibal stepped in to say the visit was not authorised.
On Wednesday, Ramesh Bhattacharjee, a member of the ministry’s department of secondary and higher education, told mediapersons in Kolkata, “I visited the school on a fact-finding mission. I spoke to the principal and the secretary of the school board of governors. I have also sought a report from them.”
Bhattacharjee made this statement after a 90-minute ‘inquiry’ into the circumstances leading to the suicide of 13-year-old student Rouvanjit Rawla.
But Bhattacharjee’s ‘inquiry’ sparked off a controversy, with Sibal saying in Delhi late on Wednesday night that he had not appointed any committee to probe the death. “I have not appointed any committee nor have I authorised anyone to probe the death of the student of La Martiniere school,” Sibal said.
On Thursday, however, Bhattacharjee had a different story to tell: “I am a member of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Parishad under the HRD ministry. In my capacity, I have the right to visit schools and inquire whether they teach Sanskrit. We did not ask anything about Rouvanjit. The school authorities had broached the issue and hence we told them they could give us a report we would submit to the ministry. The ministry had never asked me to conduct any inquiry into the case.”
Supriyo Dhar, secretary of the board of governors of the school, said: “Today we received a call from the HRD office, New Delhi, requesting us to send them the details of the persons who came to our school on June 23 and what transpired at the meeting with them in connection with the investigation relating to Rouvanjit Rawla. We have shared the information with the ministry.”