The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development on Friday said it has filed a First Information Report against non-governmental organisation Indian Council for Child Welfare for its alleged misuse of government funds, PTI reported.
The ministry’s statement comes a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre distanced itself from the organisation’s annual national bravery awards after the Delhi High Court questioned the NGO’s financial integrity, IANS reported. Till 2018, the organisation had organised the bravery awards. However, last week, the government said it will revamp the scheme of the National Awards for children as Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, 2019 and will include bravery as an additional component within the prize categories.
The High Court had said it would decide on whether the plea alleging that the NGO had embezzled funds merited further investigation.
The ministry claimed that there was a “systemic failure as far as checks and balances regarding utilisation of the funds provided by the government is concerned”. In its statement, the ministry said it had set up an internal panel based on the court’s directions to inquire into the allegations and found that the organisation had not “refunded the unspent balance of Rs 30,914,051 for the years [2014-’16] available with its state councils”.
Gita Siddhartha, the NGO’s president, refuted the allegations and described the matter as sub-judice, The Times of India reported. “I would like to say that no financial embezzlement of funds has happened,” Siddhartha said. “The ICCW has the highest levels of integrity and has been working for 68 years.”