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Delhi govt issues notice to Agnivesh

Delhi Government has served a show cause notice on Swami Agnivesh for alleged fudging of bills.



New Delhi: Delhi Government has served a show
cause notice on Swami Agnivesh for alleged fudging of bills
and told him to refund an "unspent" amount of Rs 2.23 lakh out
of total grant of Rs 18 lakh given to his NGO to carry out a
survey on bonded labourers in the city.

The Revenue department has given 10 days` time to the
activist as chairman of Bonded Labour Liberation Front to
comply with the notice.
Officials said an amount of Rs 18 lakh was released to
Delhi Government as grant-in-aid by Ministry of Labour and
Employment in 2005 for conducting a survey on bonded labourers
in the city.

Subsequently the city government had given the money to
Bonded Labour Liberation Front run by Agnivesh to carry out
the survey.

In 2007, the NGO submitted a utilisation certificate to
the government detailing expenses amounting to Rs 15.76 lakh
and informed it that the remaining amount of Rs 2.23 lakh has
been kept in bank for utilisation in the next year.

"But no utilisation certificate in respect of balance
amount of Rs 2.23 lakh has been furnished by the NGO till
date," the officials said.

Amid the controversy, Agnivesh today met Chief Minister
Sheila Dikshit during which the matter figured. Officials in
the Chief Minister`s office said the meeting was
pre-scheduled.

"He mentioned about the issue in the meeting," Dikshit
said when asked about the meeting.
In the notice, the government said the initial scrutiny
of the bills submitted by the NGO reflects "many shortcomings"
as some of them are issued in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on
account of travel expenses although the money was given for
carrying out the survey in Delhi.

Agnivesh, however, termed the allegations as "motivated,
baseless and mysterious".

"I have met the Chief Minister. We have the expenditure
duly audited for the whole Rs 18 lakh. There is no wrongdoing.
I am ready for any kind of investigations," Agnivesh said.

"I received the notice this afternoon only. I received a
fax message. Curiously, even before the notice was sent to me,
it found its way to media," he said.

The government also took objection to the NGO selling the
findings of the survey in the form of a booklet which has been
priced at Rs 100 and claiming the copyright of the
publication.

"Why the copyright of the survey report has been shown
reserved in favour of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front when
the financial assistance was extended by the Delhi
government," the notice said, adding "whether any approval
from this department has been obtained for fixing the sale
price of the report."

PTI

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