While the CBI is investigating where the Saradha funds have gone, a three-member committee has been set up at the 150-year-old Calcutta University to find out from where the university got over Rs. 786 crore worth of unaccounted funds and how they were invested in fixed deposits across various nationalised and cooperative banks.
“This financial irregularity is going on in the university for a very long time and it has come to our notice very recently when the varsity’s accounts were being audited. We are now probing what exactly happened and who are the people involved,” said Shonali Chakraborty Bandopadhyay, pro-vice chancellor (finance) of Calcutta University who is heading the three-member probe team constituted by the syndicate of the university.
The officials at the university are, however, unofficially confirming the origin of this mystery fund. “Ours is a state-aided university, which means that the state government gives us funds for everything, including salary. The external auditors have found that the university has not been informing the government about the number of employees who have retired and have been receiving funds as part of their salary. This excess money has been put into various term deposits across various banks,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
The pro-vice chancellor (finance) is not ready to comment on the matter right now. “It is true that the fund is huge but right now I am not in a position to comment regarding the source of the money. We are now working towards finding it out. However, it is true that financial malpractice has happened,” said Chakraborty Bandopadhyay.
The university has sealed the room where the certificates of term deposits were kept and police have been posted at the entrance of the room. It is being alleged that two employees of the finance office of the university made the term deposits on behalf of the university.
“It may be possible that these employees did not get any direct benefit from the fixed deposit but may have got a handsome commission as Rs. 786 crore is a big sum,” said a highly placed official of the university.
“The university is an autonomous body. Hence, the state government disburses funds according to the information supplied by us. But it is required to be seen how the concerned officials at the state higher education department did not know that many employees were drawing salaries despite having retired and enjoying retirement benefits,” he added.