Rs 5cr for Nehru, Rajaji books diverted to Sonia trust

via published on May 24, 2010

NEW DELHI: A special audit has found that Rs 5 crore released for special publication of works on Jawaharlal Nehru and C Rajagopalachari was illegally diverted to a trust, which is headed by Sonia Gandhi and has the PM and Karan Singh as trustees.

The 43-page report, which exposes a series of financial improprieties committed by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), could embarrass Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ministry of culture.

The special audit done by the Controller General of Accounts shows that NMML transferred Rs 5 crore in two tranches to Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (JNMF), a private trust, which has Suman Dubey as secretary. Karan Singh is also the chairman of the NMML executive council.

Citing the ministry of culture’s sanction of Rs 5 crore to NMML, the audit report says: “Part 12 of this sanction stipulates that no part of this grant should be diverted to any institution. But in this case, the entire grant has been released by NMML to JNMF, which is another irregularity by NMML.”

Instead of utilizing the fund, the audit report says JNMF invested it in fixed deposit for a period ranging from 91 days to two years. “When JNMF has invested most of this amount in fixed deposit of two years, it is simply not possible to utilize it within a stipulated period, thus violating the condition of sanction,” the audit report says. It also says that “for reasons best known to NMML”, for three years — 2006-09 — it did not grant any fellowship.

The audit report is scathing about a Rs 20 crore modernization project. It points out that “payments have been made to two persons (Jaimala Iyer and Chandana Dey) repeatedly for doing the same work, which defies logic and amounts to gross misutilization of plan fund, especially those relating to modernization of museum.”

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