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Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 13, 2012
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the ministry of social justice for “failing to properly scrutinise” how Union law minister Salman Khurshid’s Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust used a central grant of Rs. 71.5 lakh.

In its preliminary findings on the social justice ministry’s audit for 2011-12, the CAG stated: “After what has come to light, it’s suggested that the grant of  Rs. 71.5 lakh be recovered from the trust alongwith interest.” “The trust did not properly use the grant and provided a wrong report regarding the holding of camps in Uttar Pradesh… The ministry’s reply that it did not have control over the trust is factually incorrect,” the country’s top auditor general  said.

Khurshid’s wife Louise, who is the trust’s project director, denied any financial irregularity. “I have spoken to the CAG. It’s an internal audit report and not a final one.  I will write to the CAG to find out what it needs to know from us,” she said.

Khurshid is expected to give a detailed response on the issue after he returns from London on Sunday.

The CAG has refused to accept the social justice ministry’s view that it cannot be faulted for what was going on in the trust. “The chain of events relating to audit of the trust indicates suspected fraud in its accounts… Since grants are released by the ministry, the audit control also rests with it,” the CAG said.