The vice-chancellors of many state universities of Rajasthan were left surprised when they each received a bill of Rs 68,383 along with an alleged unsolicited package of 19 copies of the biography of Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra after they attended the book launch on Thursday. The vice-chancellors of all the 27 state universities had attended the unveiling of the book by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at the Raj Bhavan on July 1, according to official sources.
One of the vice-chancellors, who received the books, said on the condition of anonymity that it was surprising that the books, along with the bill, were kept in their vehicles though they had never asked for them. However, the publisher claimed that the books were provided to the VCs who had ordered them. There were two cartons with the copies of the biography, the VC said.
Several of the VCs said they only came to know about the copies of the book and the bill, to be paid to the publisher International Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (IIME), when they returned to their respective homes and offices. As the controversy left the Raj Bhavan red-faced, Governor Kalraj Mishra tweeted that the Raj Bhavan has no role in the marketing and business activity of the book.
An official at Raj Bhavan also said action against the publisher will be taken if there is any wrongdoing and the VCs can return the books. The coffee table book ‘Kalraj Mishra: Nimmit Matr Hun Main’ was launched on July 1. On the same day, a conference of VCs was also scheduled.
The VCs attended the book launch event and after lunch, the vice chancellors’ conference took place at the Raj Bhavan. In the meantime, the books were kept in the vehicles of the VCs and the bills were given to the drivers by the representative of the publisher, which is a research organisation.
The bill contains the name of five books- ‘Kalraj Mishra: Nimmit Matr Hun Main’, ‘Jaipur: Gem of India’, ‘The Marwari Heritage’, ‘The Heritage of Indian Tea’ and ‘Pune: A City of Many Shades ad Colours’. The publisher said that the bill of Rs. 68,383 was for all the five books mentioned in the bill while one of the VCs claimed that no book other than the biography was there in the package.
Interestingly, the invoice mentions the rate, number of copies and the total amount for only the biography and no rate or number of copies or amount was mentioned for other books. The biography, as per the bill, is priced at Rs. 3,999 and the total amount for 19 copies is Rs. 75,981.
The publisher also gave a 10 percent discount which reduces the final amount to Rs. 68,383. The bill also mentions the bank account details of IIME. The event was organised by us and the books were given as per the order of the vice-chancellors. They raised a demand for the books and we gave them along with the bill, DK Taknet, who is associated with the IIME, said.
However, he could not explain that if the bill was for the set of five books, and not alone for the biography, then why there was no mention of their rates, number of copies and amount in the bill. He also did not clarify when the orders were given, how many VCs gave the orders and for how many copies, saying the details were not available to him immediately.
After the controversy erupted, Governor Kalraj Mishra on Sunday tweeted and clarified that Raj Bhavan has no role in the marketing and business activities related to the book. Some news has been circulated regarding the marketing of the book ‘Kalraj Mishra – Nimmit Matr Hun Main’, which was released in Raj Bhavan on 1st July. This is primarily personal information between the publisher IIME, a research institute, and the buyer, he tweeted.
The publisher had published the book and sought permission to release it in the Raj Bhavan, which was given to him. But Raj Bhavan has no role or any affiliation in the business activities, marketing of the book, the governor said. The Raj Bhavan had no role in this. The event was organised by the publisher and if something has been done by them against protocol, then action will be taken, a Raj Bhavan official said.
He said that the VCs can return the books if they want.