LUCKNOW: The economic offence wing of UP Police on Friday informed a Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court that it had prima facie found anomalies to the tune of Rs 1.30 crore in the functioning of the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust run by Union external affair minister Salman Khurshid and his wife.
Taking cognizance of the report, the court issued notice to the trust and asked why it should not be directed to deposit the amount with the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment, and wait for the final disposal of the case.
A division bench of Justices Uma Nath Singh and Satish Chandra then asked the Trust to explain its position. The next date of hearing in the case is March 21. The order was passed on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Nutan Thakur on October 15, 2012, in which she had sought registration of a case on the basis of the charges levelled against the trust. In her petition, Thakur, while expressing doubt over free and fair inquiry into the allegations, had requested the court to supervise the probe.
While investigating officer SK Singh appeared before the court on behalf of the EOW with a progress report on Friday, additional advocate general Bulbul Godial apprised the bench that investigations had been carried out in 17 districts, with 36 witnesses being examined. She said the EOW in its probe had so far detected anomalies of around Rs 1.30 crore.
The trust is facing allegations, refuted strongly by Khurshid and his wife, that it used ‘forged’ letters of recommendation about utilisation of funds sanctioned in previous years for the release of grants for the next fiscal. It has also been accused of failing to account for Rs 71 lakh and Rs 68 lakh granted in 2009-10 and 2011 respectively. During initial inquiries, officers had testified that their signatures were forged.
The alleged anomalies in distribution of aid to people with disability had surfaced after a sting operation carried out by a news channel that is now facing defamation charges from Khurshid.