The complaint states that if charges of misuse and diversion of government funds and violations of FCRA are found to be true, criminal proceedings should be initiated.

Akshaya Patra midday meal being prepared
news TNM Impact Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 08:18

After allegations of possible misuse and diversion of funds and resources in the Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) came to light, civil society groups working on the issue of malnutrition amongst women and children have filed a complaint with the Chief Secretary of Karnataka. The three-page complaint asks the government for “an impartial inquiry to be instituted in this matter against APF and if charges of misuse and diversion of government funds and violations of FCRA are found to be true, criminal proceedings should be initiated against the organisation”.

The complaint, which extensively cites TNM reports from the last few days, further asks the government that “Pending this inquiry, all contracts with Akshaya Patra Foundation should be cancelled and no disbursal of government funds under any scheme should be permitted”. The complaint copy has been acknowledged by the Chief Secretary’s (CS) office. Sources in Karnataka government told TNM that the CS will bring this to the notice of CM Yediyurappa before initiating any action. 

READ| TNM Exclusive: Internal report questions missionaries’ use of Akshaya Patra funds

APF was started in the year 2000 as a public-private partnership by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to provide mid-day meals to schools within a 10-km radius of ISKCON temples across the country. It receives donations from individuals as well as CSR (corporate social responsibility) wings of private companies. 

The former independent trustees who resigned recently allege that the power of balance and accountability is further skewed as the board is currently not just insider-heavy but with the chairman and vice-chairman being close relatives (brothers-in-law), it further raises questions of lack of neutrality. 

The complaint letter states that APF is a major recipient of government funds under the mid-day meal scheme and as per the “Financial Statement submitted by the Foundation, for the Financial Year ending in March 2019, Akshaya Patra Bangalore Branch alone received financial assistance from government sources worth Rs 34 crores in the form of both grants as well as subsidies...Since APF receives substantial funds from international donors, possible violations of provisions under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and Rules thereunder also needs investigation.”

The complaint letter has been signed by:

1.Vinay K Sreenivasa Advocate, Bengaluru

2. Siddharth K J, Independent Researcher, Bengaluru

3. G Ravi Fourth Wave Foundation, Bengaluru

4. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam. Public Health Doctor 

5. Dr Veena Shatrugna, Medical Scientist, and Head Clinical Dept.(Rtd.), National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad

6. Savithra Bhai Phule Fathima Sheikh Makkala

7. Dr. Alwyn Prakash, Member, Health for All Sangha, Karnataka

8. Swarna Bhat, Grameen Koligarara Sangha (GRAKOOS)

9. Rajesh, Slum Jagatthu, Bengaluru