Yoga guru Ramdev will no longer participate in an international cancer conference at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras this week, The New Indian Express reported on Wednesday. A Texas-based institute had said on Monday that it was backing out as a sponsor of the conference.

Professor D Karunagaran of IIT-M told the newspaper that Ramdev cited “prior” commitments for not being available for the International Conference on Translational Cancer Research, to be held between February 8 and February 11 in Chennai.

Ramdev was invited to be the chief guest of the event, and was scheduled to speak with cancer specialists on cancer prevention and treatment on the opening day. This had triggered a controversy as health professionals questioned Ramdev’s presence in an event on cancer. Texas-based research and treatment facility, MD Anderson Cancer Center, backed out of the conference, though it did not give a reason.

In November 2017, Ramdev had agreed with Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who said that cancer was the result of sins committed in the past life. Ramdev has also claimed that yoga could cure the disease.

“The organising committee informed the local organisers here about Ramdev opting out of the event in a mail,” Karunagaran was quoted as saying on Wednesday. “However, we are not sure if it’s because of the media reports.”

He also said he had evidence to prove that the Texas cancer centre was a sponsor. The centre had claimed that the organisers were using its name and logo without its permission.