Jindals withdraw Rs 100-cr offer to BU

Image courtesy http://www.bse.edu.in/The ugly spat over the proposed Bangalore School of Economics (BSE) has forced Jindal Group to withdraw its offer of  Rs 100 crore for setting up the institute on the lines of the famed London School of Economics.

A spokesperson for the steel producer says it does not want to “buy any controversy with the huge amount”.

 Executive Director of Jindal Aluminium Ltd, B D Garg, said on Monday that the company was “shocked and hurt” by the allegations levelled against it by a few members of Bangalore University’s
Academic Council on January 13, 2012.

“We had agreed in good faith to offer the sum to help build a centre of excellence. But one member called it an investment by us; another suspected it to be the sale of university land. These people doubted that such an enormous sum cannot be donated for nothing and hence desperately tried to find some fault,” Garg said in a statement.

Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor, Prof N Prabhu Dev, who had conceived the project, termed the withdrawal of donation a “setback” and said he was “very disappointed”.

“It’s a very negative signal. I don’t think the university will ever get a donation from a corporate house in future,” he told Deccan Herald.

Garg reiterated that the company had agreed to donate the sum without preconditions. “The
ownership of the land for BSE and its day-to-day management were to be solely with the university.
The company wished no role whatsoever in the operation or management of the institute,” Garg explained.

But with its name being “rudely sullied”, Garg said, the company was no longer interested in being subjected to such “low politics”. “We hereby withdraw our donation for the project conceived and cherished in all sincerity by a few well-meaning people,” he declared.

Garg said that the company made due diligence before deciding to withdraw the offer. Garg thinks the company’s decision to donate might have been “premature”. “Perhaps we should have decided only after the V-C had obtained all the necessary approvals,” he said, adding the company might still donate to the university in future but, “We’d be very careful”.

Prof Dev said: “We approached the Jindal Group only after getting a preliminary approval from the Academic Council. The critics did not oppose the project initially. They raised their voice only when they saw it being realised.”

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