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Probe ordered into ISKCON irregularities

india Updated: Jul 30, 2009 14:48 IST
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Conceding the opposition Congress demand, Karnataka government has agreed to institute a probe by the legislature house committee into alleged irregularities committed by International Society for Krishna Consciousness, including its fund raising abroad for its Mid-day meal scheme.

"The government concurs with the opposition that it is not proper for anyone to portray Karnataka or India in bad light to collect donations. Such actions are nothing but an affront to the state and the country. The government hereby orders a house committee probe into the ISKCON affairs", Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S Suresh Kumar said.

Winding up the four-hour-long debate, initiated by D K Shivakumar of Congress and others, he said the Speaker Jagadish Shettar would name the members of the committee.

Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, also denounced the actions of ISKCON in circulating photographs of crying children, portraying Karnataka and India as a land of starving children to whip up sentiments of donors abroad to raise resources.

The Centre and state government had been spending Rs 379 crore on Mid-day meal schools to provide lunch to 69.26 lakh school children from first standard to tenth standard across the state, he said.

The ISKCON is supplying cooked fund to 3.67 lakh children including those in Bangalore City,for which the state provides rice, other inputs and conversion charges, Mr. Kageri said.

Mr. Shivakumar alleged ISKCON had diverted donations collected abroad to fund its real estate business and demanded a probe by the house committee and action against its authorities.

He also alleged "massive" financial fraud in the mid-day meal programme run by ISKCON temple in Bangalore and asked the government to take over the institution.

Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah too made similar demands.