Around 4,000 files related to unaccounted funds disbursed to voluntary organisations are feared missing from the office of the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART). As CAPART works on a major internal inquiry, details are emerging that could add up to a massive financial scandal involving public money.
CAPART functions under the ministry of rural development. It is the only government organisation in the world that directly funds non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The recoverable amount, details of which may have been lost for ever, could run into hundreds of crores, according to CAPART estimates.
Figure this: the total number of “active files” in CAPART’s electronic database is around 10,000, but the manual database records only 6,000. Where are the other 4,000? There’s more: a physical verification of available files, carried out in March 2007, showed there were only around 4,000 files in all. CAPART is working to understand the discrepancy in numbers.
So far, the organisation has specific details about just 301 missing files. According to estimates based on these details, 762 NGOs owe it a total of Rs 21.1 crore.
In March 2007, after a first round of inquiry, CAPART listed details of 81 missing files and sent them to the CBI for a probe. And on Wednesday, a second list of 200 files was sent. Details about the remaining 20 files are likely soon.
CAPART D-G Veena S. Rao said: “We are hunting for the missing files and setting our house in order.” Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said: “CAPART has been soiled in mud from the very beginning. Procedures are now being streamlined.”
Last month, CAPART sent notices to all “deviant NGOs”, threatening action on charges of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of public money and criminal breach of trust.