CBI inquiry into 'corruption' launched at 5 state branches of Red Cross including Kerala

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CBI logo | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: A CBI inquiry has been launched at the regional branches of the Red Cross Society in four states and a Union Territory over complaints of corruption and financial irregularities.

According to officials, the Union health ministry had received complaints about alleged corruption at the regional branches of the Red Cross Society in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Karnataka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In Tamil Nadu, the ministry officials said serious allegations in the functioning of the state branch were brought to the notice of the governor, after which he requested the national headquarters (NHQ) of the Red Cross Society in Delhi in July 2020 for approval under the Prevention of Corruption Act to enable the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the matter.

"The accused chairman and other office-bearers of the Tamil Nadu branch obtained a stay from the high court in Chennai against investigation by the CBI. The stay stands vacated in June 2022. Currently, the chairman has resigned and the matter is with the CBI," the ministry said.

The governor has also dissolved the state managing committee and replaced it with an ad-hoc committee.

In Kerala, a case of misappropriation of funds in 2019 allegedly by the chairman and the vice-chairman led to the NHQ recommending dissolution of the managing committee.

A new managing committee is in place after an interim committee under a high court judge was appointed just after the dissolution of the state committee, a ministry official said.

The general secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands branch was holding on to the position for a long time without proper elections.

Based on a complaint, the matter was referred to the lieutenant governor of the Union Territory.

On the recommendations of the LG and with the chairman's approval, the general secretary has been removed, the officials said.

In Assam, a delay in the election of the state managing committee and a land dispute led the managing body members to visit the northeastern state and apprise the governor of the issues pertaining to the branch.

The high court ordered that elections will have to be held and a new state managing committee is in place now.

In Karnataka, a trust was registered in the name of Red Cross by the former chairman of the state branch.

An FIR has been lodged and now the trust stands dissolved, the officials said.


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