MESCO makes unaudited profit in name of donation for Flag Day Fund

Flag Day Fund

Maharashtra Ex Servicemen Corporation (MESCO), which is currently run by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan as the chairman and NCP MLA Bhaskar Jadhav as the vice-chairman seems to have made an unaudited profit of Rs 21 crore in the name of charity.

The money was supposed to be donated in full to the Flag Day fund. Instead, only a miniscule amount of Rs 10 lakh was in fact donated towards the fund till date.

Incidentally, this lapse came to the fore through an RTI response to city-based ex serviceman activist Commander (Retd) Ravindra Pathak.

According to information that surfaced, MESCO, located on Raigad building opposite Ghorpadi war memorial, made a profit of Rs 21.69 crore between 2001 till date and marked a turnover of R5 75 crore in 2011-12.

But, no audits have been carried out of the corporation over the past three years, thus leaving no accountability of how Rs 21.69 crore has been utilized.

The figures also find mention in several communications between MESCO director Col (retd) Suhas Jatkar and the state government in 2011. A reply to commander Pathak, dated November 30, 2012, states, "Profit so far paid to Flag Day fund is Rs10 lakh."

MESCO was created in 2001, with sanctions of then CM late Vilasrao Deshmukh in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict, when a need to generate employment for ex-servicemen was felt.

Having started with 300 employees, the corporation now claims to employ 8,000 ex-servicemen and records a turnover of Rs 75 crore (as per the RTI response of 2011).

The MESCO website as well as Rules of Association of MESCO clearly mention that "Profits earned by MESCO are donated to the Flag Day fund, which is explicitly utilized for the welfare and resettlement of war widows, disabled soldiers, ex servicemen, widows of ex servicemen and their dependents."

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