Land Grab Allegations: Visva Bharati University Asks Amartya Sen To Show Cause Why He Shouldn't Be Evicted

Land Grab Allegations: Visva Bharati University Asks Amartya Sen To Show Cause Why He Shouldn't Be Evicted

by Swarajya Staff - Wednesday, March 22, 2023 12:45 PM IST
Land Grab Allegations: Visva Bharati University Asks Amartya Sen To Show Cause Why He Shouldn't Be EvictedAmartya Sen.

Visva-Bharati university has issued a notice to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen asking him to show cause why an eviction order will not be issued against him for not vacating a plot he is allegedly occupying illegally.

Sen was asked to reply to the notice by 24 March and appear before Ashok Mahato, the Joint Registrar and Estate Officer of the central university, personally or through a representative by 29 March along with evidence in support of Sen's assertion that he is not occupying any plot unauthorisedly.

"In case you and your authorised representative fail to appear on the said date, the case may be decided ex-parte," the notice said.

The university has been claiming that Sen is in possession of 1.38 acres of land on the Santiniketan campus, which is in excess of his legal entitlement of 1.25 acres.

The economist has earlier asserted that most of the land he is holding in the Santiniketan campus was purchased from the market by his father while some other plots were taken on lease.

“I hereby call upon you to show cause on or before March 24, 2023, why an order of eviction should not be made against you...,” the estate officer said in the notice dated 17 March, a copy of which was made available to the media on Sunday.

Visva-Bharati had in the past two months sent three other missives to him reiterating that he has been occupying public premises illegally.

"I call upon you to appear before me in person or through a duly authorised representative capable to answer all material questions connected with the matter, along with the evidence which you intend to produce in support of cause shown, on March 29, 2023, at 4:45 pm for a personal hearing," Mahato said in the university's latest communication.

Visva-Bharati spokesperson Mahua Banerjee claimed that Sen neither responded to any of the earlier letters sent by the university nor took any follow-up action, prompting it to send this notice.

“We have no problem if he deputes someone, but we hope he will be responding to the notice this time," she said.

Banerjee said Visva-Bharati is not treating Sen’s issue separately from other such land occupation cases and steps are being initiated to free all illegally occupied plots.

Earlier in January, amid the allegations on Sen, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had handed over land-related documents to the Economist, asserting that 'no one can question him' in future.

Banerjee had visited Sen at his residence and dubbed the accusations made against him as 'baseless'.

The chief minister had also announced that the Nobel laureate would be accorded 'Z+ category' security in future.

"Allegations of land grabbing against him (Amartya Sen) are baseless. It is an attempt to tarnish his reputation. No one has the right to insult him. We won't tolerate it," Banerjee said as the economist sat beside her.

(With inputs from PTI)

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