Seven persons, including Patuakhali Science and Technology University’s (PSTU) vice-chancellor (VC), were served a legal notice, calling for action against those involved in illegal recruitment at the university, alleging that many had been appointed to various posts without paying heed to rules and by taking bribes during immediate-past VC Harun-ur-Rashid’s tenure.

Supreme Court lawyer Jahangir Hossain issued the notice on May 30.

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Other recipients of the notice are secretary of the education ministry; chairperson of University Grants Commission (UGC); PSTU’s registrar; Prof Muhammad Maniruzzaman of PSTU’s agricultural chemistry department; Shahin Hossain, associate professor of soil science department; and Nowrose Jahan Lipi, associate professor of agriculture department.

Among them, Prof Maniruzzaman and Lipi are married, and Lipi is Harun’s adopted daughter. There are allegations that the couple influenced university activities during Harun’s tenure from 2017 to January 5, 2021.

According to the legal notice, one Debashish Mandal of Kushtia was a candidate for a lecturer post at PSTU. He was asked to pay a huge bribe to get the job, even though he had the best scores in the selection test.

Maniruzzaman and Lipi demanded a bribe of Tk 10 lakh from Debashish, who really wanted to get the job. Later, just before the interview board ceremony, the bribe rose to Tk 15 lakh.

In the end, as Debashish could not pay the bribe, they hired another new candidate named Rafiq Uddin, receiving Tk 15 lakh from him.

Contacted, Rafiq declined to comment.

Debashish later returned to his home in Kushtia on May 14, 2018 and killed himself. The notice claimed that Maniruzzaman, Lipi and Shahin had committed offences under Section 306 of the Penal Code.

The notice further said UGC’s responsibility is to ensure that rules are followed during recruitment, but it did not do so.

Furthermore, Maniruzzaman’s younger brother Md Kamruzzaman and Shahin’s sister Nazmun Nahar were appointed to the university. The notice demanded the two appointments be cancelled.

It also requested authorities addressed in the notice to take action against the teachers. It asked authorities to inform the lawyers concerned by 10am on June 15 about the action.

Otherwise, a writ petition will be filed with the High Court to get justice, the notice said.

Contacted, PSTU VC Swadesh Chandra Samanta confirmed receiving the notice and said, “We will talk to the law officer about the matter, and a decision will be taken.”

Contacted, Maniruzzaman denied all allegations, saying that the notice was issued to harass them.

Others addressees of the notice declined to comment.

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