21 April 2011
An earlier essay presented data to establish that Anna Hazare & co. have double standards, that they or their NGOs demand integrity from public officials when their own record is murky, and that clearly and emphatically theirs is a case of double standards. In Hazare’s own case, the Justice P.B. Sawant Commission of Inquiry detailed instances of corruption, illegality and maladministration. State Ministers indicted by the Commission had to resign, but Hazare was morphed into an anti-corruption icon.
Hazare’s company that was scanned in the earlier essay was Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi, Mallika Sarabhai and Arvind Kejriwal (and Medha Patkar and Aruna Roy who too were in his news). That essay drew attention to unrefuted published data and added fresh data pertaining to Kejriwal’s NGOs. This essay expands on Kejriwal’s NGO’s publicly-stated accounts.
First, to recapitulate:
The movement called "India Against Corruption" (IAC) solicits money from the public, but has no account of its own. This money is passed on to a Kejriwal NGO called "Public Cause Research Foundation" (PCRF, founded 2006) that in its website till at least April 18, 2011 listed no information of IAC money it had collected. It presented its accounts from 2006 to 2009 and analysis showed that, for 2006 to 2008, money reported as used for "charitable purposes" had in fact been used entirely on itself for routine office/administration expenses. It reported a corpus fund, the amount and nature of which fluctuated -
On April 1, 2006 the corpus fund was Rs 13,01,000.
On March 31, 2007 this had grown to Rs 14,49,168.10 notwithstanding expenses debited from it of Rs 6,31,797, loans given from it of Rs 2,15,000, and donations received of only Rs 21,400.
On April 1, 2007 the corpus fund had become
a "specific corpus fund" with only Re 1,000 (that added Rs 8,10,000 to itself by March 31, 2008), and
a "nonspecific corpus fund" with Rs 12,48,566 in it.
No donations were reported for that year, and the loans from PCRF were to another Kejriwal NGO founded in 1999, that solicited funds on its website but gave no account of them there.
On March 31, 2009, the corpus fund (a single one again) had shot up to Rs 31,51,416, the loans given were Rs 2,46,274, and no donations were reported.
There is no financial information for after 31/3/09.
Recall that Kejriwal was in the income-tax service.
Your IAC money - which you gave because of Hazare? - is channeled into Kejriwal’s PCRF, and from there into other Kejriwal NGOs.
Then, during and after the "picnic" that was the Hazare "fast-unto-death", questions were loudly asked (including by this writer) of who had paid for that media and marketing event, and who had kept its accounts.
Forced to respond, IAC issued a press statement and also put up data on its website.
It is not clear from the IAC website when this "movement" was started but the money it collects goes to PCRF - which, at least till April 18, 2011, had made no reference in its website to IAC or IAC’s money.
Now, click on "Receipts and Expenditure" in IAC’s website. It opens to a receipt and expenditure "statement...for 30th January rally, indefinite fast in April and all activities related to preparations thereof."
It reports donations received of Rs 82,87,668, including 2,871 donations of less than Rs 5,000 each. There are 101 donors of Rs 5,000 and above (though, oddly, the amount has not been totaled), including
- Rs 25,00,000 by "Jindal Aluminium Ltd/Mr. Sitaram Jindal",
- Rs 3,00,000 by the "Eicher Good Earth Trust Mr. Vikram Lal",
- Rs 2,00,000 by Shriram Investments,
- Rs 50,000 by HDFC Bank,
- Rs 25,000 by Common Cause,
- Rs 20,000 by Carmel Convent School, and
- Rs 10,000 by the Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd.
The expenses reported are Rs 32,69,900, including Rs 81,751 for "food", Rs 44,908 for "medical for those on fast", and Rs 4,61,382 for "traveling and conveyance".
That’s what IAC says. But Kejriwal says differently. According to him, the expenses include "Rs.6 lakh-Rs.7 lakh spent in Mumbai. Mumbai accounts were also included in this".
So, whom do we believe?
Rupees 82,87,668 was given over a number of months to IAC (which has Kejriwal as a founder); IAC passed on the money to PCRF (founded by Kejriwal) that, till April 18, 2011, still had not declared this receipt on its official website.
IAC (PCRF?) spent Rs 32,69,900 on its 30th January rally and its five-day April "picnic".
What happened to the balance of Rs 50,17,768?
That’s right - 50 lakh rupees collected from the public.
Is it held by PCRF in a separate account for IAC, and is this legal? Or is it added to PCRF’s corpus, and is that ethical? Is it earning interest? Who gets that income?
Isn’t the public entitled to know?
PCRF’s website boasts it "works for just, transparent, accountable and participatory governance", but there’s not a single word in its website regarding the IAC movement.. And now with a cool Rs 50 lakhs in his own NGO’s kitty to take care of many of his expenses, we need not be impressed that Kejriwal declines the sarkari allowance offered for attending the meetings of the joint drafting committee, or, for that matter, that he discloses his relatively modest personal assets.
Curiously, Hazare, in disclosing his personal assets, declared cash assets worth Rs.68,688.36. The same Hazare was able to make cash advances to one of his NGOs of Rs 70,000 in 1993-94, Rs 50,122 in 1994-95, Rs 1,75,000 in 1997-98, and Rs 69,555 in 2002-03 with all that money being returned to him in cash in violation of the Income Tax Act - an illegality, as Justice Sawant noted.
Justice Sawant exculpated Hazare of mala fides - but that is not the point. As was asked in the earlier essay, are Hazare & co. prepared to exculpate public officials who act likewise?
Then, after all that hangama of the "fast-unto-death" ("hang them", said Hazare, of the corrupt), he declared "Parliament was supreme and [he] would accept its decision if it rejects the Lokpal Bill.... We will have to accept it. We believe in democracy". So, then, why did he engage in that coercive Gandhian fast?
Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde is the third "civil society" nominee to the joint drafting committee. He is generally considered "an upright person in public service" though "he was alleged to have pressured Chief Minister of Karnataka to remove then Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike commissioner S. Subramanya".
That leaves the two Bhushans over whose "civil society" selection to the joint drafting committee there is a major controversy. Columnist B.S. Raghavan very strongly supported Hazare’s movement, welcomed the formation of the joint drafting committee, and defended the two Bhushans - "Both have outstanding legal credentials and their being father and son is only incidental." Then, at least about that selection, Raghavan changed his mind, and his reason is worth noting -
"I feel that Shanti and Prashant Bhushan should resign from the Committee until the SIT which they are demanding goes into the CD and gives them a clean chit. If we begin accepting the words of the concerned individuals themselves that whatever they are accused of is politically motivated, fabricated and concocted dirty tricks, and that they are innocent, then we need have no investigative and prosecuting agencies and the judiciary. We may wind them up and save thousands of crores of rupees. There is no satisfactory explanation for the words "four crores" (the money with which Prashant was supposed to "manage" the judge) occurring in the CD, admittedly in the voice of Shanti Bhushan: Prashant was asked about it at the media meet, and he gave an evasive reply."
And that is exactly the point.
Anna Hazare had demanded that the public officials appointed to the joint drafting committee be untainted.
Therefore, those who, on behalf of "civil society", have selected themselves to the joint drafting committee must themselves be free of the slightest taint of corruption.
Like Caesar’s wife, they must be above suspicion.
The author is a retired civil servant and co-editor of "NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry" (Chennai: Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2007)
expanded and updated at
"Mr Kejriwal donated the prize money of his Magsaysay award as corpus fund to PCRF" - http://www.pcrf.in/index.html. Did $50,000 convert to Rs 13 lakhs?
- under "Events", the earliest reference is to a press conference on Oct 29, 2010 - http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org
- http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org - no, it wasn’t there on April 10, 2011 and was put up as on April 13, 2011, quite obviously - and this bears repeating - not on its own initiative as responsible accounting but in response to public pressure.
- HDFC Bank is a "scheduled commercial bank" and the "Jammu & Kashmir Bank is the only Bank in the country with majority ownership vested with a state government - the Government of Jammu & Kashmir" - http://www.jkbank.net. What are these banks doing, donating depositor money to an anti-government movement? Moreover, is the Carmel Convent School donation from its own coffers or, as is usually the case, were its students coerced into collecting chanda?
- not at http://www.pcrf.in nor even at http://www.lokrajandolan.org
- http://www.scribd.com, pp.286-7.
- "It is not wrong to say that we are engaging in terrorism on principles" - http://www.dailypioneer.com
- http://en.wikipedia.org, as on April 18, 2011.
- BS Raghavan, webgroup email, April 18, 2011 (emphasis added, quoted with his permission).