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  1. #1
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    ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies


    ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies

    GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS running Indian Red Cross Society branches in Punjab used funds amounting to lakhs, meant for relief to people affected by war or natural disasters, to buy cars, ACs, cellphones, furniture - and even nappies for their babies.

    Documents of expenses between 1999 and 2006, obtained through the RTI Act by Ludhiana-based NGO Resurgence India, also show that funds were used to pay hotel and restaurant bills and newspaper bills. The documents suggested money collected for relief to those hit by the Kargil war, Orissa supercyclone and Gujarat earthquake never reached the victims. Grants from central ministries were also misused or diverted.

    Documents of just three districts - Ludhiana, Patiala and Sangrur - show a massive diversion of funds in what could be a statewide, perhaps nationwide, scandal. Deputy commissioners (DCs) who headed the Red Cross branches in these districts spent on things completely unrelated to Red Cross objectives. Some expenses, if at all, should have been met by the state government.

    Hitender Jain, general secretary of Resurgence India, said: "The DCs have made Red Cross their fiefdom... The misuse of Red Cross funds merits a thorough investigation...."

    The Hindustan Times's Chandigarh edition reported the scam on Sunday. Within hours, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal ordered divisional commissioners to hold an inquiry and submit their reports within 15 days.
    Indian Red Cross Society secretary general S.P. Agarwal told HT on the phone from Delhi: "They (DCs) cannot spend Red Cross money for government or personal expenses... the governor should be informed."
    With branches throughout the country, the Indian Red Cross Society is managed under an Act of Parliament. At the national level, the President heads it while the Union health minister is its chairperson. At the state level, the governor heads it and the chief minister is the vice-president. The DC heads the branch at the district level.

    A former DC of Patiala, Tejveer Singh, said at times a DC is forced to meet government expenses by spending from Red Cross funds. "This is because of the lack of funds provided by the government to the districts. On a day-to-day basis, the DCs face this problem and the only way out is to use society's fund," he said. Right after Tejveer's tenure, for example, the Patiala Red Cross bought two rumalas for Rs 4,200 for Prince Charles and his wife to offer at Gurdwara Sahib.

    In 2002, the Sangrur branch spent Rs 45,000 as "donation for election purpose". The Ludhiana branch provided two cars to the DC and his wife.

    ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies - Yahoo! India News


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  2. #2
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    Re: ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies


    "A former DC of Patiala, Tejveer Singh, said at times a DC is forced to meet government expenses by spending from Red Cross funds. "This is because of the lack of funds provided by the government to the districts. On a day-to-day basis, the DCs face this problem and the only way out is to use society's fund," he said."

    This is the low depths governance has reached in India.
    Now, one cannot donate to Red Cross, one cannot donate to PM Relief Fund because you never know what will happen to the money.

  3. #3
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    Re: ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies


    As reported by Maneesh Chibber on expressindia.com on 23 February 2008:
    Govt ends double cross in name of Red Cross/Saturday , February 23, 2008 at 12:19:13

    Govt ends double cross in name of Red Cross


    Chandigarh, February 22 Close on the heels of various district Red Cross societies having been found involved in highly questionable diversion of funds collected in the name of war victims and victims of natural calamities, the Punjab government has initiated a move to check the wayward actions of the societies.District Red Cross societies are headed by the respective deputy commissioners.

    To begin with, the government has ordered the Deputy Commissioners of Muktsar and Faridkot to “immediately end” the practice of forcing all applicants for arms licence to shell out Rs 2,000 and Rs 500, respectively, as “donation” to the Red Cross.

    Orders to this effect were issued yesterday by the state Home Department. Sources said the government had received complaints from some applicants about them being forced to pay Rs 2,000 and Rs 500, respectively, as donation to the Red Cross with every application for issuance of an arms licence. An inquiry held by the government established the allegations, following which the government stepped in to put an end to the practice.

    “Deputy Commissioners of all districts have also been told to check any such practice,” said a senior government official.

    Sources said the decision to effectively check the practice of the DCs allowing and, in some cases, facilitating forcible collection of funds in the name of the Red Cross was taken sometime back by the government. This followed startling facts revealed in information procured by a Ludhiana-based NGO through the Right to Information Act.

    In response to the NGOs RTI applications, it came out that the district Red Cross societies in Punjab had been diverting funds for making needless and questionable purchases.

    The officer said some more ways adopted by the district administrations to force hapless citizens to fill the coffers of the Red Cross societies are also under examination and the government could soon issue orders to put an end to all such collections.

    The matter of misuse of Red Cross funds by some district societies all with the consent of the respective DCs is already the subject matter of a pending public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



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    Re: ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies



    very informative news.

  5. #5
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    Re: ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies


    As reported in in.news.yahoo.com on 5 May 2008:
    Payback time for Punjab DCs - Yahoo! India News

    Payback time for Punjab DCs


    THE PUNJAB government has decided to recover money from deputy commissioners who misutilised funds collected by Red Cross Societies for Kargil War Relief, Orissa Cyclone Relief and Gujarat Earthquake Relief etc. Hindustan Times had in December last year carried reports on misutilisation of Red Cross funds.

    Resurgence India, a Ludhiana-based NGO, had obtained the information under the RTI Act. Sources said Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh issued the orders last week asking the divisional commissioners to recover money from the DCs.

    If they failed to deposit it to the accounts of Red Cross Societies, it would be deducted from monthly salaries, said the order. The order also said that the DCs who spent the Red Cross Society funds on personnel use would have to deposit the money from their own pocket.

    The government would chip in for the amount spent for various official purposes. The Deputy Commissioners of Patiala, Ludhiana and Sangrur districts either used the funds for purchasing personal household merchandise, as mundane as incense sticks and nappies, or bought furniture and curtains for offices and government residences in the districts.

    As a result, the money could never reach the victims. Sources said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had taken a serious view of the funds being misutilised.

    The government is also contemplating action against the DCs found guilty. It has also submitted an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court promising recovery of funds from the DCs and that it was ready to chip in where the money was spent officially.

  6. #6
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    Patiala DCs return Red Cross funds


    Patiala DCs return Red Cross funds
    AS Reported in Times News Network, 16 May 2008, 0438 hrs IST,TNN


    PATIALA: Admitting delay, but not misappropriation, all three deputy
    commissioners of Patiala Division, who were earlier charged with
    squirrelling away Rs 44 lakh from the state Red Cross societies, have
    now deposited the money in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

    This was done following Punjab and Haryana high court directions. NGO
    Resurgence India procured this information by using the Right to
    Information (RTI) Act. It was found that lakhs of rupees collected by
    Red Cross societies of the state for Gujarat earthquake, Orissa
    cyclone and Kargil war victims were diverted.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Patiala_DCs_return_Red_Cross_funds/articleshow/3044908.cms

  7. #7
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    Re: ***** use Kargil relief funds for cars, ACs, nappies


    As reported by Verinder Sareen in punjabnewsline.com on 21 October 2008:
    PunjabNewsline.com - Divisional commissioners damn bother about Punjab govt orders

    Divisional commissioners damn bother about Punjab govt orders

    NAWANSHEHAR: It seems offices of the Divisional Commissioners in Punjab care two hoots for the letters received from the Personnel Department (IAS Branch) of the Punjab Government.

    Following a query regarding information sought under the RTI Act by a local activist, Parvinder Singh Kittna, general secretary of Nawanshahr-based NGO Human Empowerment League of Punjab (HELP), the Personnel Department has failed to elicit any response from the Divisional Commissioners' offices despite repeated letters and reminders. After the expose in a national daily on the misuse of Red Cross Funds across Punjab, Kittna on April 5 had sought information about the list of IAS officers from whom the Red Cross funds were to be recovered for their having been misused by these officers.

    Kittna had also asked the time period during which these recoveries were to be made as also the amount which was to be recovered.He had further urged for information regarding the mode of recovery from the employees including IAS officers who had misused the funds but now had retired from the service.

    As some of the information was related to the offices of the state Divisional Commissioners, the Personnel Department vide letter dated June 17, asked the offices concerned to provide the requisite information within ten days. But as no information was provided, the Personnel department wrote even "chetavani" letters on July 10 and 29 and a demi-official letter on August 14. But all this was of no avail. The last letter to Divisional Commissioner, Ferozepur and Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar, a copy of which was sent to Kittna also, written by the Personnel Department was on September 1. The activist is still awaiting the information which he had sought six months ago.

  8. #8
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    Information sought under RTI not given even after six months


    Information sought under RTI not given even after six months
    as reported by Anju Agnihotri Chaba, oct 24, 2008 | Indian Express

    Jalandhar, October 23 : Under the Right to Information Act (RTI), information must be provided to the applicant within 30 to 40 days. But there are many cases where even after six months, the information is not given. In one such case, Help, an NGO, has been waiting for information applied under RTI since April.

    According to Parvinder Singh Kitna, the NGO had filed its application on April 5 to seek information regarding the recovery of Red Cross funds from those IAS officers who had misused them in their respective districts, during their stint as DCs.

    The NGO had asked how much amount was to be recovered from which IAS Officer , the total amount to be recovered, the time period for recovery, recovery method to be adopted from the retired IAS officers etc. The RTI application was addressed to the office of Chief Secretary, Punjab. From there, it was referred to the Personnel Department’s IAS branch.

    Kitna said the NGO received a letter from this branch on September 1, stating that the information regarding these questions was to be provided by the offices of the Commissioners of Jalandhar and Ferozpur divisions. The letter added that ‘warning letters’ were issued to these two offices in July, August and September, but till date the information was not provided.

    More then ten districts fall under the above mentioned Jalandhar and Ferozpur divisions. The NGO is still awaiting the information.

    Information sought under RTI not given even after six months

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