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First, Narendra Modi needs to clean up the stinky stables at minority affairs ministry

Sunday, 15 June 2014 - 7:58am IST | Agency: dna

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his ministers to clear stables and undo any injustices done during the previous UPA regime, Maulana Azad Foundation (MAF), a frontline body under the Ministry of Minority Affairs engaged in promoting education, is probably not on his radar yet.

During the 2014 election campaigning, the then minority minister K Rahman Khan had given marching orders to the Foundation's secretary MW Ansari, a senior IPS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre, over a reported tiff. However, Ansari's replacement, Ali Ahmed Khan, has been severely indicted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for embezzling funds, irregular use of staff car, submitting false medical bills and wrong payment to advocates.

During his last days as minister, Rahman Khan first appointed DS Bist, managing director of National Minorities Financial Development Corporation as in-charge of the Foundation, but a week later replaced Bist with MA Imam, an officer in his ministry. Imam too was removed from the position in two days to make way for Ali Ahmed Khan. The audit report relates to Khan's previous assignment as secretary of Central Wakf Council (CWC), from where he was picked by former minister Rahman Khan to replace Ansari at the Foundation. The audit report even raises questions on his qualifications to hold the position of secretary at the CWC. An advertisement for the post mentioned, that to qualify, candidates should have experience in construction work or in the field of education or other social work. Khan, in his earlier role as Chennai-based regional director of leather exports, did not meet any of these criteria. The CAG, in its report, even recommended that the appointment be referred to the ministry of minority affairs for verification. The audit report also accused the officer for paying an advocate an amount of Rs 15,000 from the CWC coffers, even though the Delhi High Court had asked the payment be made by individuals. The auditors further found that the officer was not only drawing transport allowance every month, but was also using the government vehicle to commute from his office to his residence, even on Saturdays and on holidays.

Khan was not available for comments. Former minister K Rahman Khan defended appointing Khan. K Rahman Kahn claimed the previous secretary, Ansari, was removed as he was found to be "guilty" of "serious financial irregularities". "We have appointed a sub-committee to look into the allegations of financial indiscipline and an expenditure of Rs 64 lakh incurred by the Foundation for the repair and renovation of office campus," he said.

Ansari, on the other hand, has sent a detailed missive to new minister Najma Haptullah, pointing inaccuracies in the charges levelled against him. The Foundation's officers said Ansari had energised the institution by providing some 35,000 scholarships mostly to girl students last year. While blacklisting seven NGOs, he was also instrumental in disbursing Rs 183 crore to 1,423 NGOs across the country for the uplift of educational standards of the minority community, an important recommendation of the Justice Rajinder Sachar committee.

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