Notice to Khurshid trust over ‘misuse’ of funds

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday issued a notice to Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, run by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise, on a PIL seeking lodging of an FIR into the alleged embezzlement of Rs 1.30 crore of Central government funds meant for providing assistance to disabled persons during 2009-2010.

The direction came after the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of UP Police, which is conducting an inquiry into the matter, submitted a status report before the bench. The bench comprising Justices Uma Nath Singh and Dr Satish Chandra will hear the case next on February 21.

Assistant Advocate General (AAG) Bulbul Godiyal said the state government had handed over the inquiry into the matter to EOW on July 3 last year. Initially, the agency was conducting probe into the alleged embezzlement of funds in five districts, but later it was extended to 12 more districts.

The EOW has to question 524 persons. The agency has so far recorded statements of 36 of them. Of the 40 government officials, 12 have been questioned so far, said the AAG.

It will take four to five months for the EOW to complete the probe and arrive at a conclusion if an FIR has to be lodged into the matter, she added.

Petitioner Nutan Thakur said there was sufficient evidence which corroborates the irregularities done by the trust in misusing the grant sanctioned by the government.

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