NEW DELHI: Weeks after the shocking case of mass desertion by CoBRA commandos, abuse of welfare funds for organizing parties for the top brass of the CRPF and their families has come to the fore.
Records accessed by the Express suggest, the paramilitary has also subsidized purchase of prizes for the raffle draw (lottery) that is organized every year as part of the annual CRPF Mela here.
While an amount of Rs 75 lakhs was spent for purchasing the prizes for the lottery, only a little over Rs 37 lakhs was collected from the sale of raffle draw tickets and rentals from the kiosks at the Mela, according to the records.
Also, an amount of over Rs 85 lakh was collected during October, the month in which the CRPF Mela was held, from sponsors, sale of raffle draw tickets and proceeds from the maturity of fixed deposit but the final computation for the month reflects just over Rs 49 lakhs in receipts. Sources said the mismatch in the actual accruals in October and the final tally in the ledger book to the tune of Rs 36 lakh could have been embezzled. The expenditure in October, according to the records, is pegged at over Rs 81 lakh.
Interestingly, the prizes were purchased from the master canteen at Group Centre, Gurugram which means the items were procured at a discounted price of over 30 per cent. This besides, the paramilitary personnel, the official vehicles and the infrastructure are utilized for the conduct of Mela including the kitchens
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the world’s biggest and the country’s lead counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist paramilitary Force. The welfare funds of the CRPF Welfare Association (CWA) are collected through monthly contribution from the paramilitary personnel including the jawans who comprise the bulk of the rank. The CWA is registered as a voluntary organization and is headed by the wife of Director General of CRPF. The CWA funds are primarily meant for welfare of the martyrs’ families and those incapacitated in action besides mentally challenged wards of the jawans.
However, during outgoing DG K Durga Prasad’s tenure, a lavish picnic party was recently organized at CRPF Group Centre in Gurugram for which even an event management firm was roped in for organizing the function exclusively for the wives of the top paramilitary leadership including DG’s wife Sujatha Prasad.
The picnic party was organized on February 9, days after 59 Cobra commandos deserted the force. CRPF DG did not answer specific queries whether the CRPF is subsiding lottery prizes out of the welfare funds and the mismatch in the accounts register relating to receipts and expenses in October.
Sources said the CWA has not undertaken any major welfare measure for the families of the jawans and the martyrs.
The revelations come in the backdrop of a recent video posted by a CRPF jawan claiming disparity in payments and allowances vis-à-vis the Army personnel. Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been particular against babus spending time on habits like golfing at the cost of performance.
When contacted, in-charge spokesperson of the CRPF refused to speak on the controversial management of the welfare funds for the jawans and recorded irregularities thereof.
After the above report was published, the CRPF wrote to The New Indian Express stating that regimental welfare funds of the CRPF are not used for the activities of the CRPF Family Welfare Association (CWA), which is a registered NGO, and audited regularly.
“During Annual Welfare Exhibition-2016 (Mela-2016), CWA received Rs 1.23 crore from the sale of raffle draw tickets. Out of this, Rs 75 lakh used for raffle draw prizes (as compared to Rs. 27 lakh in 2015) and Rs 1,65, 000 was paid for printing of tickets. Out of the balance funds, approximately Rs 42.5 lakh was used to provide financial assistance/scholarships for education of CRPF wards of deceased personnel and the balance amount is available in CWA account. An amount of Rs 30,72,136 was raised from various sponsors and from rent of stalls in the Annual Welfare Exhibition. The total expenditure in organising Mela-2016 was Rs 20,57,453 only, and the entire balance amount is available in the CWA account. Some of the items for raffle draw prizes were purchased from CPC and the same cost (not the market rate) has been accounted for as such in CWA account,” clarified CRPG DIG (PRO).
Our reporter Rakesh Singh has responded saying the discrepancies in the figures are evident in the CWA ledger book, which has been duly signed and stamped by the officials and functionaries of the CWA. Before publishing the report, Singh had contacted then DG K Durga Prasad with specific queries regarding the discrepancies in the ledger but did not get a response. Following this, the reporter also spoke to CRPF spokesperson in-charge DIG Dinakaran, who too refused to speak about the issue. “I also had a word with the DIG (Welfare) who again was unwilling to commit anything,” says reporter Rakesh Singh.
To substantiate the CRPF’s statement that the CWA was an NGO, the reporter had also sought details regarding its registration under the Societies Registration Act. As for the conduct of raffle draw itself, from which the funds were collected, the reporter asked for information/documents from which the CRPF derives authority to sell lottery tickets on government premises, as the sale of lottery is a banned activity. There was no response from the CRPF authorities to any of his specific queries, says Singh.