Six months later, the Shekhawats say they will take anything, even a computer, in place of the swanky vehicle.
“I asked the institute director to sell the car and give us the money, or keep the car and gift something else to my son, even a laptop,” said Tanmaya’s father Rajeshwar Singh Shekhawat, a school teacher in Rajasthan’s Churu. Tanmaya joined IIT Bombay for a degree in computer engineering.
The reason: The high maintenance and running costs of one of the vehicle, considered a status symbol in India and elsewhere.
“Even if we take the 28-lakh rupee as a gift we’ll have to pay 33% of the amount as tax. From where do we bring 9 lakh rupees? The car has very low mileage and one service costs Rs 85,000,” Rajeshwar added.
Their predicament echoes that of India’s ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who was also gifted a German-made BMW by a sports association after her historic vault at the Rio Olympic Games. With the roads of her home town Agartala, the capital of Tripura, too narrow for the mean machine and its high maintenance costs, she had also sought to return the vehicle.
However, the director of the coaching institute said the Shekhawats expressed their wish to sell the car only a few days ago.
“Earlier they wanted to keep it. They said the boy’s maternal uncle in Mumbai could keep it. Now they want to sell it as they need money for the treatment of the boy’s mother, who is a kidney patient,” says RL Poonia, director of Samarpan Career Institute at Sikar, around 115km from capital Jaipur.
The decision of giving away a BMW car to a meritorious student by a coaching institute was unprecedented in the country and was seen as a marketing ploy.
Sikar is seeking to replicate the success story of Kota which is acknowledged as the coaching capital of India.
Every year, more than 1.5 lakh student from across the country enroll in the 40-odd coaching institutes in Kota to prepare for the highly-competitive entrance examinations for different professional courses. Kota’s coaching business runs into hundreds of crores of rupees. They are also known to produce all India toppers in most of the competitive exams.
Tanmaya is the first from any institute from Sikar to secure a place below 100 in the IIT-JEE.
Poonia admitted the enrollment in his coaching institute grew to 7,000 from last year’s 5,000 and a big factor contributing to the increase was Tanmaya’s success.