Seeking the intervention of the Karnataka High Court in investigating the alleged irregularities in the Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF), Karnataka BJP MLC, Lehar Singh Siroya has written a letter to the Chief Justice, High Court of Karnataka. In his letter, Singh has urged the High Court to take note of the issues that have been highlighted in the media for the last one month, since the resignation of the independent trustees as well as the erstwhile audit committee members.
Leher Singh had also written a letter to the Chairman of the APF, Madhu Pandit Dasa, to have the allegations of governance issues and fund diversion probed by neutral persons with “no past or present association with either the Foundation or ISKCON Bengaluru”. He has also urged the Chairman to seek the suggestion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the Karnataka High Court in appointing an ‘unimpeachable inquiry committee’.
Saying that his earlier letter to Madhu Pandit Dasa has received no response, the BJP MLC in his letter to the Chief Justice says, “Since it (APF) is a public trust, which receives public donations and government funds, I thought it my duty to humbly request you to take cognisance of the news items and institute suitable action. As you are aware, the APF is an agency that helps many state governments, including the Government of Karnataka, in running the midday meal welfare scheme for school children. APF is headquartered in Bengaluru.”
APF is a public-private partnership with ISKCON to provide mid-day meals to schools within a 10-km radius of ISKCON temples across the country. Whistleblowers and insiders have alleged that there is a possibility of leakage by way of grains, construction costs and diversion of donations in the APF program.
“When the story first broke a few days ago, I had written a letter to the Chairman of the APF on 23 November 2020 to step aside and get an independent enquiry done after consulting both the Chief Justice of India and your lordship. Besides others, I had marked a copy of this letter to you. I have attached it again with this letter, besides some news reports, for your easy reference. I wish to report that I have not received any response from the APF to my letter,” Leher Singh wrote.
Meanwhile, the APF has constituted a two-member committee headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner of India, Shri KV Chowdary to look into ‘all the issues raised by the erstwhile trustees and audit Committee members’. The panel’s report is yet to be submitted.