The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to inquire into the charges raised by a citizen through a right to information application that contributions raised by Coal India Ltd (CIL) from its employees, including money collected during the Kargil war, have not been deposited with the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). CIC has asked PMO to complete the exercise within 15 days of the decision and report back.
This is the first time that PMO has been asked to open its account books and explain collections accepted under the relief fund by CIC.
The CIC order comes two months after Mint ran a story on money collected from employees of South Eastern Coalfields, one of CIL’s subsidiaries, under PMNRF that was not transferred. Mint had reported on 20 June that around Rs55 lakh collected towards assistance during the Kargil war in 1999 was not deposited, even seven years later.
But with the CIC’s order, the issue has assumed greater significance as the applicant, Muzibur Rehman, has made references to money similarly collected by other CIL subsidiaries, which apparently run into crores of rupees. Rehman expressed “grave doubts as to whether these funds have actually been deposited in the PMNRF, expressing apprehension of embezzlement”.