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Monday, 17 October 2011

Supreme Court notice to anna hazare following PIL

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has issued notices to social activist Anna Hazare on a public interest litigation, seeking direction to CBI to investigate 'financial irregularities' in his trust. The court also sought response from Hazare on the plea seeking his prosection for alleged siphoning of funds. A bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Desai also sought responses from the Centre, CBI and the Maharashtra Government on the PIL filed by advocate ML Sharma.

"This court be pleased to issue direction for CBI Investigation against Capart's (Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology) officials, 833 (black-listed) NGOs, including Kishan Baburao Hazare, for recovery of money as well as prosecution," said advocate Sharma in his petition.

He said Hazare and his associates had floated the Hind Swaraj Trust in Ralegon Sidhi in 1995, with a capital of just Rs 500 and received Rs 45 lakh from the Centre in 1994-95, even before the trust was registered. It was followed by Rs 65.85 lakh from the state government in 1995-96, it said. "This is a clear case of fraud and criminal breach of trust involving public funds, as how could a trust, which was not born and having funds not more than Rs 500 as capital for registration on February 21, 1995, be spending Rs 45 lakh in 1994-95," the petitioner asked.

Despite irregularities pointed out by Justice Sawant Committee's report, no action has been taken by the authorities. "The report said that in 1994, Hazare had secured another Rs 75 lakh from Capart. In 2001, Capart released Rs 5 crore to Hazare in the name of rural help," the petition said. The petitioner placed on record of the apex court the portion of the Sawant Committee report.

"Petitioner is seeking CBI investigation for further collection of details of amount siphoned by the respondent no.4 (Hazare) and his friends as well as their criminal prosecution under Section 409, read with Section 420 of IPC, coupled with recovery of money he and his group of friendsa¦succeed to siphona¦from the Consolidated Fund of India," PIL said.

Petitioner Sharma further said the extent of utilisation of funds given to the trust from the Consolidated Fund of India could be found only if the apex court orders a probe and closely monitors it. He alleged that a case of misappropriation of money and cheating was made out against Hazare and his trust.

According to the petition, in July 18, 2010, Capart released a list of NGOs black-listed by it for fund misuse, but the central government did not initiate any action or criminal investigation into the role of these bodies.

"Hazare is only an example; more than 10 thousand crores funds from the Consolidated Fund of India has been siphoned to various NGOs/Trusts in the name of public welfare and used for own family/political development," the petition alleged.

There are more than 22,000 NGOs and various other trusts in the country utilising grants from governments and enjoying complete tax exemption, running into thousand of crores every year, the plea alleged.


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