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FIR Against Medha Patkar, 11 Others Over 'Misuse of Funds For Anti-National Agenda'

The activist has said the Narmada Navnirman Abhiyan has detailed audit reports accounting for all expenses. She also said the complainant has ties with the BJP and RSS.
Medha Patkar. Photo: PTI/File

New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Police has registered an FIR against Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and 11 others in Barwani district based on a complaint by a villager alleging the misuse of funds collected for managing educational facilities for tribal students. Patkar has dismissed the allegations.

The complainant, one Pritamraj Badole of Temla Bujurg village, has alleged that Patkar and others diverted funds for their “political and anti-national agenda,” according to police quoted by the news agency PTI.

Badole has alleged that Narmada Navnirman Abhiyan (NNA), a trust registered in Mumbai, received Rs 13.50 crore from various sources in the past 14 years for running residential educational facilities for tribal students of the Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. These, he claims, were misused.

Barwani superintendent of police Deepak Kumar Shukla told PTI that the complainant has “provided some documents.”

“As the case is related to old transactions, a detailed investigation will be carried out,” he said.

Those named in the FIR are Medha Patkar, 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.

“The case is related to two states Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 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,” the SP said.

Patkar’s response

Patkar has said she had a full audit of the expenses and hinted at political motivations behind the complaint. NDTV has reported that she has said that the complainant is a member of the student wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological fountainhead, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Patkar also said that she was yet to receive any information on the registration of the FIR from the police.

Patkar claimed it was not the first time that she was being subjected to such allegations and asserted she was ready to reply to all of them as the full accounts and audit of the funds were available.

She has reiterated that her organisation does not receive funds from abroad and all finances are thoroughly audited annually.

“The funds were used appropriately and the ‘jiwanshalas’ being run at present have been there for the past three decades. The organisation has been involved in rehabilitation for decades. It has always given replies to such allegations with documents,” Patkar said.

The activist, however, also said she didn’t deal with funds and expenses, which are taken care of by other functionaries.

Patkar, who claimed that a debate is underway in the country on ‘rashtravad‘ (nationalism) and ‘rashtradroh’ (treason/sedition), said there may be political reasons behind this case or it may be a conspiracy to defame.

“Those who do the right thing by asking questions about the system are called anti-nationals. The public will decide,” she said.

(With PTI inputs)

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