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'Public trust is now family affair'

At 86, Shankar Adivarekar is a man with a mission. He wants to end what he calls the deep rot in the Chetana Education Trust, reports Chitrangada Choudhury.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 03:13 IST
Chitrangada Choudhury
Chitrangada Choudhury

At 86, Shankar Adivarekar is a man with a mission.

He wants to end what he calls the deep rot in the Chetana Education Trust.

A retired bureaucrat and former freedom fighter, Adivarekar and former Education Minister Madhukarrao Chaudhari established the trust in 1970. Chaudhari, incidentally, is also the trust’s current chairperson.

“There was no management college in the Bandra-Andheri stretch and we wanted to address the education need. But since 1995, the trust has become a money-making centre indulging in unethical practices,” Adivarekar said.

Adivarekar has charged that the trust accepts illegal donations for seats, diverts trust funds, gives away printing tasks without a tender process and runs unrecognised Post-Graduate Diploma courses. In fact, the All India Council of Technical Education, in response to a Right To Information (RTI) application (by Adivarekar), admitted the course was unrecognised in November 2006.

“It is no longer a public trust but one that is run by the chairperson’s relatives. I had already complained to the Directorate of Education and the Charity Commissioner about malpractices, but they only issued show cause notices,” said Adivarekar.

Over a year ago, on December 31, 2005, Adivarekar filed a RTI application seeking details of the trust’s ledger books, donations received from students, process of allocating seats, marks of those admitted, answer papers, other sources of funds and all investments made by the trust over the past decade.

The trust never responded to Adivarekar’s RTI application

despite the law mandating that information be given within

a month. After a September hearing before the State Information Commission (SIC), the trust promised to open up, but still did not.

“We held a meeting and decided that the applicant already had all the information. So there

was no need to give it to him. We have a right to take that stand,” said Premanand Rupavate, secretary, Chetana (Education) Trust and its Public Information Officer (PIO).

But last week, the SIC fined the Trust Rs 25,000 and asked that Adivarekar be given the information he is seeking. Adivarekar believes the information will help him establish the truth. “I will file a criminal case or a suit once I get all the documents.”

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First Published: Jan 04, 2007 03:13 IST

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