The Madhya Pradesh Police have registered a first information report against social activist Medha Patkar and 11 others in Barwani district for alleged misuse of funds, PTI reported on Monday.
The case was registered on Saturday based on a complaint by Pritamraj Badole, a resident of Temla Buzurg village. All the 12 persons have been booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, The Times of India reported.
Badole has alleged that the Narmada Navnirman Abhiyan, a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation, misused funds collected for the education and welfare of tribal children in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
In the last 14 years, the organisation received donations amounting to Rs 13.50 crore, Badole said in his complaint. However, these funds were used for a “political and anti-national agenda”, he claimed.
He also alleged that the amount was spent without disclosing the source from where the donations came, reported The Times of India.
Apart from Patkar, the 11 persons booked in the case are Parveen Rumi Jahangir, Vijaya Chouhan, Kailash Awasya, Mohan Patidar, Ashish Mandloi, Kewal Singh Vasave, Sanjay Joshi, Shyam Patil, Sunit SR, Noorji Padvi and Keshav Vasave.
Superintendent of Barwani Police Deepak Kumar Shukla said that the complainant has also provided some documents to prove his allegations, PTI reported.
“As the case is related to old transactions, a detailed investigation will be carried out,” he said. “The documents and facts will be verified and all the parties concerned will be allowed to present their sides and facts. Further legal steps will be taken as per the facts that emerge during the investigation.”
Meanwhile, Patkar refuted the allegations and said she is yet to receive information on the case registered against her, PTI reported.
“The funds were used appropriately and the ‘jeevanshalas’ [residential schools] being run at present have been there for the past three decades,” she said. “The organisation has been involved in rehabilitation for decades. It has always given replies to such allegations with documents.”
Patkar said this was not the first time that such allegations have been leveled against her. She said the complainant could be associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Patkar also said that all financial transactions of the Narmada Navnirman Abhiyan are audited thoroughly every year. However, Patkar added that she did not deal with the funds and expenses and that they were looked after by other functionaries of the organisation.
She alleged that the complaint was lodged due to political reasons or with an intent to defame her, PTI reported.
“Those who do the right thing by asking questions about the system are called anti-nationals,” Patkar said. “The public will decide.”
Patkar is the leader of the Save Narmada Movement which began in 1985.