Within a week of the
publishing a series of news reports regarding the misuse of Red Cross funds by deputy commissioners, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Centre and the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS).
The court also directed the deputy commissioners concerned to produce records pertaining to Red Cross societies in the next hearing.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, issued these directions while hearing a petition filed by Ludhiana-based NGO, Resurgence India.
Seeking registration of a case and a thorough probe by an independent agency into the misuse of funds by Red Cross office-bearers in Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh, the petition said directions should be issued to immediately seize all records of district and state branches, keeping in view the fact that the officials leading these branches were highly-ranked government functionaries who were in a position to tamper with evidence.
The petition pointed out that in addition to the central government funds, funds collected locally for Kargil War Relief, Orissa Cyclone Relief and Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund were found to have been misappropriated and used for purposes other than those for which they were collected.
There is a clear evidence of misuse of the Red Cross funds by IAS officers posted as DCs for their personal expenses, who are presidents of respective district Red Cross branches, the petition said. The case will now come up for hearing on March 28.