Chief Minister N Biren Singh today said an underground group has demanded Rs 5 crore from Manipur University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Adya Prasad Pandey even as the agitation by students and teachers, demanding the VC’s removal, entered its 43rd day.
Mr Singh told reporters that the state government had a copy of the extortion letter sent by the underground group to Mr Pandey, demanding Rs 5 crore from him.
The Manipur University is a central university.
The chief minister said the VC had told the Centre that the extortion letter and the ongoing agitation were “related” as he had not paid the amount demanded by the underground group.
Mr Singh said he would discuss the Manipur University impasse and the demand of the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) and Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) for the removal of the VC with the officials of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry during his visit to New Delhi.
The chief minister is scheduled to leave for the national capital tomorrow.
The MUSU and the MUTA have been staging sit-in protests and taking out rallies on the campus since May 30, demanding Mr Pandey’s removal.
The protesting students are currently on a relay hunger strike to press their demand.
The associations have accused the VC of “financial irregularities”, “failure” to fill up key posts in the university and “inefficient” administrative functioning.
Mr Pandey had denied the charges levelled against him.
Mr Singh said the VC could only be removed after a fact-finding committee looked into the allegations against him, adding that the state government did not have the right to intervene in the administrative activities of a central university.
However, his government was holding talks with the officials of the HRD Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) regarding setting up a committee to probe the charges against Mr Pandey, the chief minister said.
The agitation by MUSU and MUTA has hampered the academic activities in the university since May 30. Six deans, five heads of departments and the public relations officer (PRO) had resigned, university officials said.