The Central government has removed the secretary of Maulana Azad Foundation (MAF), a frontline body under the ministry of minority affairs to implement various minority welfare schemes, in the midst of the election process.
The secretary, MW Ansari, a senior IPS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre was given the marching orders, rather unceremoniously through a fax message without giving any reason on May 1. He was reportedly sent off following a tiff with minister K. Rahman Khan on granting funds to some favourite NGOs and his opposition to issue a contract for the construction of a new building for the MAF in the heart of Delhi.
The Foundation had come under fire in the past for spending just Rs 1 lakh in 2011-12 against a budget of Rs 100 crore. It was after this dismal performance that the ministry of minorities affairs hunted for an appropriate officer to head the Foundation, which is responsible for distributing scholarships, providing grant-in-aid to NGOs who work in the areas of providing basic educational infrastructure and facilities in minority concentration areas. Ansari was asked to immediately handover charge to DS Bisht, currently the managing director of National Minorities Financial Development Corporation (NMFDC).
Ansari, who refused to talk about his exit, said he had no idea why he was removed in the midst of elections. MAF sources said Ansari's credentials and transparent working style was the main factor behind his exit from the Foundation.
The Central government has provided a corpus of Rs 910 crore to the Foundation, which is invested in three banks. Last year, the amount generated an income of Rs 82 crore for the Foundation to meet its administrative and infrastructural requirements.
"At the last governing council meeting, presided by the minister, there was a tiff on blacklisting of some NGOs and also the minister wanted a contract to be assigned to National Buildings Corporation (NBC) for the construction of a new building, which was resisted by secretary Ansari," a source in the MAF said.
While the minister could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, his officer said that Ansari had renovated the dilapidated building assigned to the Foundation in the heart of Delhi at a cost of Rs 36 lakh, without issuing any tenders and contracts. "It was investigated by the NBC, which found 10-15% extra costs had been incurred," an official in the minister's office told dna.
Those in the Foundation said the senior IPS officer, of the rank of director general police, wanted funds to the tune of Rs 100 crore to be used for the welfare of community, rather than for construction of a signature building.
MAF 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 upliftment of educational standards of minority community, an important recommendation of Justice Rajinder Sachar committee.