The Delhi Government served a show cause notice to the Bonded Labour Liberation Front,an NGO run by activist Swami Agnivesh,for the alleged fudging of bills with respect to a grant of Rs 18 lakh given by the government to the NGO. The notice has asked the organisation to return Rs 2.23 lakh of the grant which was given in 2005 to conduct a survey on bonded labourers in the city,which was unspent and has not yet been refunded. Officials said that the money was given to the Delhi Government as grant-in-aid by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2005,which was in turn given to Swami Agniveshs NGO.
In 2007,the NGO submitted a utilisation certificate to the government quoting expenses of Rs 15.76 lakh,and said the rest was kept in the bank to be used in 2008. But no utilisation certificate of the remaining 2.23 lakh has been furnished by the NGO till date, officials said. The Revenue Department has given Agnivesh,the chairman of the NGO,10 days to comply with the notice.
The notice also points out shortcomings in the expenditure undertaken by the NGO as several of the bills submitted relate to travel expenditure in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while the survey was intended only for the Capital. The government has objected to the findings of the survey being published in a booklet priced at Rs 100,and sold under the copyright of the NGO.
The notice says,Why has the copyright of the survey report been shown reserved in favour of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front when financial assistance was extended by the Government. The notice also asks,whether any approval was given by the revenue department for fixing the sale price of the report.
Swami Agnivesh,however,called the allegations motivated,baseless and mysterious. He met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday in connection with the issue. We have the expenditure duly audited for the entire Rs 18 lakh and are open to any kind of investigation, Agnivesh said.