Birla keeps clear of Rahul’s charge of bribing Modi

Ahmedabad, Dec 23 (IANS) Kumar Mangalam Birla, head of the leading industrial conglomerate Birla Group, on Friday declined comment on allegations that his group had paid Rs 25 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.

“I am not aware. I don’t know about it and do not want to talk about it,” Birla told reporters here at the Indian Institute of Management- Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Kumar Birla is Chairman of the IIM-A.

“The matter is sub judice and I would not like to say anything,” he said on being repeatedly asked about it.

Rahul Gandhi had on Wednesday alleged at a public meeting in Mehsana in north Gujarat that Modi had accepted Rs 25 crore from Birla, while more was to come.

Birla, who was visiting the IIM-A campus after a gap of two decades, stayed at the campus for two days and said that he would act as a bridge between the corporate world and the premier B-school.

“My focus would be to see how best I can help increase interaction between the corporates and the IIM-A,” he said.

On being asked about his thoughts on how the IIM-A can improve its ranking globally, Birla opined that the Institute should prepare more of Indian students than expatriates or foreign students.

“One of the criterion is to go by the number of foreign students you can attract to your campus. As an Indian, I would be delighted if India seeks to take demographic advantage of having largest young population and IIMs train our own youngsters in the art of management. But, this is purely my opinion,” he said.

Speaking on the issue of autonomy to the IIMs, Birla said he is in favour of maintaining complete autonomy.