UP Police wing begins probe into Khurshids' trust

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Lucknow, Oct 15: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the UP Police started an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the functioning of Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust run by Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Loise Khurshid for the welfare of challenged people.

EOW director general Suvrat Tripathi said the government had asked them to probe the trust's activities and accordingly, four teams had been pressed into action. The trust had organised camps in 17 districts in 2009-10.

Tripathi said the inquiry was in an advanced stage and statements of district officials for the welfare of the challenged people were being recorded. He said on the basis of the evidence, they could also question the Khurshids if the necessity had arisen. The EOW director general said there was no definite time frame to complete the inquiry but they were trying to conclude it at the earliest.

The trust has been accused of faking signatures and stamps of officials on test reports on the use of government funds, which were sent with the proposal seeking fresh grants for the next year. Tripathi said the inquiry would find whether fake signatures had been used to get new funds. It would also see who were the challenged people who actually benefitted from the trust. Tripathi said they would meet each beneficiary and record his/her statement in the interest of the probe.

The matter surfaced in May last year after the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had asked the UP government to confirm the test check reports sent directly to them by the trust for 17 districts for the 2009-10 financial year. The trust had reportedly received Rs 71 lakh in that fiscal. The trust was given grant by the ministry under its Assistance to Disabled Persons Scheme for buying aids for challenged people.

As per the norms, a proposal for the release of funds for the next year is taken up by the ministry following a recommendation made by the state government after sample checking of 5-10 per cent of the beneficiaries who were covered the previous year. These reports have to come through the state government or national bodies along with the proposal for grant-in-aid.

RP Puri, under secretary of the ministry, had written to the UP government that the above organisation had furnished the test check reports signed by various officials of the districts concerned directly to the ministry for sanctioning grants for the 2010-11 fiscal. He had asked the government to confirm the reports with the concerned authorities.

A reminder was also sent in August 2011 and thereafter, the state handicapped welfare department was directed to verify the test reports. During the verification process that followed over the next four months, it was learnt that 30 officials from 13 districts said that the signatures on the test check papers were not their own.

In March, the matter was brought to the notice of the new Samajwadi Party government and on Jul 3, the EOW was asked to start a probe.

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