Five days after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature for a second term as Chancellor of Nalanda University claiming that the Narendra Modi government does not want him to continue in the chair, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy demanded that he be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. On Tuesday, Feb 24, Swamy issued a statement against Amartya Sen and Nalanda University.
Full text of the statement:
I demand for four reasons that the now retired Professor Amartya Sen be sacked from the Chancellor's post in the newly set up Nalanda University.
- Sen though paid an annual salary of Rs.50 lakhs (in US $ tax free) is normally resident in USA, and comes to India briefly in the winter months free of charge First Class on Air India. His total emoluments is far in excess of the service he provides.
- The CAG Report on the expenses incurred for building construction of the University and perquisites of Prof. Sen and others for administering the University and the delay in meeting easy targets for construction, is full of irregularities and is, prima facie, of corruption.
- The former President of India, Dr.Abdul Kalaam resigned from the post of Visitor of the University in 2011 in disgust, objecting to Sen's arbitrariness and malafide actions.
- The nodal Ministry of External Affairs for the University, objected in writing to Sen's arbitrarily and opaque manner of appointing as Vice Chancellor Ms.Gopa Sabharwal, an Assistant Professor. i.e., a junior lady faculty member, from JNU. Full Professors refused to join under a much junior-faculty member as Vice Chancellor.
The CAG in its Report had also objected to the appointment and the salary fixed for her.
- In 2013-14, the Ministry of Finance also objected to the irregular way Sen was operating the large Special Dispensation Fund of the University. There was no transparency or accountability of the use of these funds
- So far about Rs.3000 crores of tax payers money has been recklessly spent by Prof Sen, for which he has to be made accountable.
Hence I demand that the Government prosecute Prof. Sen and his chosen few under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and under IPC Sections 120B, 406 and 420 or face a PIL from me.
According to a report published in the Hindu, the Nalanda University has denied Swamy's claims:
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.
The Nalanda university statement sought to clarify all the objections raised by Swamy in his statement.