The Bombay High Court on Monday sought to know from the state government what action they would take against social activist Shamla Abrol, who has allegedly siphoned off more than Rs 64 lakh from an orphanage at Nagpur — Shraddhanand Anathalaya.
The court came down heavily on the Charity Commissioner’s office for not exercising effective control over charitable trusts. It gave time till March 2 to the state to spell out the proposed action.
Acting on a petition, the high court had in May 1999 appointed an expert committee to inspect all childcare centers across the state. The committee submitted its report in October 2001 saying it had noticed malpractices and also the failure on part of the trustees to manage the affairs of the orphanage.
The high court had then asked Joint Charity Commissioner, Nagpur to conduct special audit regarding the trust and submit a report. Accordingly, the Joint Charity Commissioner has submitted a report on January 22, concluding Shamla Abrol has siphoned off Rs 64,86,686 from the accounts of the orphanage.
Lawyer Maharukh Edenwala told the court that the woman used to seek cheques from foreign donors in some other name, under which she had opened a separate account.
She also pointed out that the receipts were never disclosed to the office of the Joint Charity Commissioner in the trust’s annual accounts.
“What are you going to do about checks and balances you have?” asked the judges to public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia adding, “If you don’t have control over such bodies, another Shamla would come up.”
Apart from giving a clear finding that Shamla has siphoned off more than Rs 64 lakh, the Joint Charity Commissioner has issued directions for the recovery of the amount from the social worker.