Skip to main content

Activists "unearth" misuse of public funds, flouting of rules during Modi's sadbhavna festival in 2011-12

By Our Representative
Gujarat-based activists have said that there was a “fraudulent use of public money” between September 2011 and February 2012, when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s 34 sadbhavna programmes, claimed to create a harmonious inter-community relations in Gujarat, took place. Alleging that the programmes, in which Modi would observe day-long fast for symbolic “purification”, reflected Modi’s ”arbitrary nature of functioning and total disregard for written provisions”, the activists said, “Evidence on record shows huge funds were diverted from government departments for personal gain and projection of Modi keeping the next year’s state elections in mind.”
Saying that the first three sadbhavna programmes, starting the one at Ahmedabad on September 17, 2011, were held “illegally”, without any approvals or following government rules and regulations, the activists, in a statement issued in Ahmedabad, said, “Neither the CM nor his government had any planning for them; they had no clue even one month after the programme of what it was going to cost.” The activists alleged, Modi “diverted” funds meant for Central schemes by sighting a “general circular which suggested promotion of communal harmony programmes in states.”
Saying that the state assembly, the Gujarat governor and people in general were “deliberately misled about the actual expenditure”, the activists pointed towards how “legal procedures and authorization” were flouted. They added, “As per Constitutional Article 266-267-283(2) and provision for contingency fund and Gujarat Financial Rules 1971, such expenses are misappropriation of public money. The accounts have not been settled till date.”
They said, Modi announced “huge projects for development of the host districts during sadbhavna programmes. Many of the projects were already part of the local bodies’ budgets. Other projects like automation of solid waste management, re-carpeting of roads, afforestation, fire brigade expansion, housing schemes for urban poor, funds mainly came from the Centre’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).”
Further, “the announcements like the beautification of Aji and Nyari dams on public-private partnership model were also ongoing projects. In Porbandar, Modi announced a Rs 281crore package for three main projects – a new drinking water supply network, an underground sewage pipeline and a housing scheme for the poor. All three projects were going on for a while and were part of the JNNURM.”
The activists said, while sadbhavna programme began on September 17, 2011, Modi’s birthday, only 25 days later, on October 12, 2011, a meeting was held in the General Administrative Department (GAD) in which Gujarat chief secretary and other officers were present. The estimated expenditure of the sadbhavna fast was calculated as roads and buildings Rs 30 lakh, the district collectors Rs 8 lakh, state transport Rs 20 lakh, and information and publicity Rs12 lakh. Ever since, there were various estimates floating around in the corridors of power of the amount spent on sadbhavna.
On November 5, 2011, wide letter No CNF/1111/433/k, a sum of Rs 3 crore was set aside from the contingency fund for sadbhavna. “The sanctioned money should have been regularized in the budget session in March 2012 when the 2012-13 budget was presented. There was no mention in the budget of this expenditure”, the activists who released the statement – Prof Hemant Shah, senior columnist Prakash Shah, Mahesh Pandya of Gujarat Social Watch and Gautam Thakkar of the People's Union for Civil Liberties – said.
On February 24, 2012, only “a supplementary statement was made in the assembly. In this it was referred to as ‘new service’. All MLAs should have been given details of new service three days prior to placing it in the assembly, and the state assembly should approve the supplementary demand of ‘new service’. No such procedure was followed.”
Interestingly, while the budget for 2013-14 found no mention of sadbhavna, the activists said, “The supplementary statement for 2012-13 presented on February 20, 2013 suddenly gave an additional estimated expenditure of Rs 15.48 crore”.
There have been other discrepancies as well. “On February 24, 2012 an MLA asked a question in the assembly regarding funds given to each district for sadbhavna, and the answer was Rs 5 lakh each to Jamnagar, Navsari, Patan, Tapi, Narmada, Kutch, Bhavnagar and Vadodara districts, and Rs 4 lakh to Porbandar”, the activists, said, adding, “A year later, the GAD passed a giving funds to district collectors – Jamnagar Rs 20 lakh, Navsari Rs 12 lakh, Tapi Rs 15 lakh, Narmada Rs 20 lakh, Vadodara Rs 20 lakh, Porbandar Rs 20 lakh, Dangs Rs 20 lakh”!
Then, a letter from the Gujarat governor’s secretary on March 22, 2012 stated the spent amount from various departments was Rs 1.57 crore. “However, data unearthed on the basis of original documents suggest that the total expenditure was Rs 12.83 crore”, the statement said. Of this, the expenditure on bringing people to attend sadbhavna in state buses alone was Rs 11.14 crore.
“The amount was spent on buses which brought people to sadbhavna, tents, halls, light, phone, skull caps, CCTV, printing, advertising, and so on. Suggesting that this is just tip of the iceberg, the activists said, “We do not have any documents regarding other expenditure regarding food and a lot of other things -- gifts, the CM’s travel by helicopters etc”, it concluded.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.