Nalanda University has termed “false” the contents of a statement issued by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on the University and its Chancellor, Professor Amartya Sen.
>Rebutting Dr. Swamy’s statement that Professor Sen was being paid “an annual salary of Rs. 50 lakhs” as its Chancellor, the university said in a statement that Professor Sen has received “no salary whatsoever from Nalanda University.” All his work for the university has been done in an honorary capacity, it said.
On Dr. Swamy’s suggestion that Professor Sen flying to India free of cost by Air India was part of his “emoluments” for “the service he provides” to Nalanda, the university said that though Professor Sen sometimes does make use of his free Air India pass, this has nothing to do with Nalanda or its “emoluments”. The free pass was a gift from the Government of India. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave it to Professor Sen to celebrate his Nobel Prize.
On Dr. Swamy’s reference to a “CAG Report on the expenses incurred for building construction of the University and perquisites of Professor Sen” which pointed to “irregularities and.... prima facie of corruption,” the university said there has been no such observation in any CAG report. Also, Professor Sen does not receive any “perquisites” from the university.
On Dr. Swamy’s contention that “the former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam had resigned from the post of Visitor of the University in 2011 in disgust, objecting to [Professor] Sen’s arbitrariness and mala fide actions,” the university stated that Dr. Kalam had declined to become the first Visitor on the ground that the post was meant for the President of India. By the time the university came into existence in 2010, Dr. Kalam was no more the President. So Pratibha Patil, who was then President, became the first Visitor.
On Dr. Swamy’s statement that the Ministry of External Affairs had “objected in writing to [Professor] Sen’s arbitrariness and opaque manner of appointing” the Vice-Chancellor, the university said there was no such communication. The appointment was made by its Governing Board on the basis of the recommendation of an academic selection committee constituted for the purpose.
On Dr. Swamy’s contention that the Finance Ministry had “objected to the irregular way [Professor] Sen was operating the large Special Dispensation Fund of the University,” Nalanda said it had no such fund. And, the Chancellor is not involved in financial management, except as Chair of the Governing Board.
The issue came up in the context of Professor Sen last week withdrawing his candidature for a second term as Chancellor of Nalanda University. In a letter to members of Nalanda University’s Governing Board on February 19, Professor Sen had said he was quitting, as the President as Visitor was not able to give his assent to a second term for him as Chancellor as he had not got the government’s approval, although there was a unanimous resolution in January that he should stay on for another term.