Updated: September 25, 2021 8:19:25 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday lashed out at the Centre for claiming that PM-CARES was not a government fund, and asked how the “lakhs of crores of rupees” donated had been used. Banerjee said complete transparency should be maintained in the transactions made with the money collected by the trust.
Hitting out at the Centre while campaigning for the Bhabanipur by-poll in which she is a candidate, the Trinamool Congress chief pointed out at the PM-CARES Fund bore the national emblem. She added that the Union government’s statement had left everyone confused.
“The Chief Minister Relief Fund is regularly audited. PM CARES FUND was formed for Covid-19, but yesterday they [Centre] told the court that it is not a government fund. Government employees have donated money there, funds through CSR have been donated there, lakhs of crores of rupees have been donated. So where is that money?” Banerjee said.
In an affidavit submitted to the Delhi High Court, an Under-Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), who is discharging his functions in the PM-CARES Trust on an honourary basis, said the fund was not a government fund as donations to it do not go to the Consolidated Fund of India. The PMO official told the court that no third party information could be given out irrespective of the fund’s status under the Constitution and the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The bureaucrat told the court that the trust functions with transparency and gets its funds audited by an auditor — a chartered accountant drawn from a panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
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