Home >News >Akshaya Patra forms committee of newly appointed trustees to probe charges
The Akshaya Patra Foundation also delivers food to over 4,000 Anganwadi centres, benefiting more than 163,000 children. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
The Akshaya Patra Foundation also delivers food to over 4,000 Anganwadi centres, benefiting more than 163,000 children. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Akshaya Patra forms committee of newly appointed trustees to probe charges

  • A two-member committee led by APF's newly constituted trustees will probe allegations of impropriety.
  • Serious allegations surfaced against the NGO by former trustees who were, until recently, very closely associated with the foundation.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) on Saturday said that it had formed a two-member committee led by its newly constituted trustees to probe allegations of impropriety and other charges levied by the erstwhile audit committee and others of the Bengaluru-based non governmental organisation (NGO).

The statement comes days after serious allegations surfaced against the NGO by former trustees and other members who were, until recently, very closely associated with the foundation.

"Akshaya Patra’s newly constituted Board of Trustees has formed a two-member committee headed by former central vigilance commissioner (CVC) of India, Shri KV Chowdary (now a non-executive trustee) to look into all the issues raised by the erstwhile trustees and Audit Committee members," APF said in a statement on Saturday.

M.S. Unni Krishnan, former managing director and chief executive officer of Thermax and also a non-executive trustee will be part of this committee, APF said.

"The committee will review the observations of the erstwhile Audit Committee and those in the communications received from former trustees and submit a comprehensive report after thoroughly examining all the issues raised within four weeks," the foundation said.

The allegations include food grain and fund diversion, missionaries overrunning the board and non-maintenance of records in related-party transactions, gaps in governance and other serious charges against an organization that helps provide over 1.8 million mid-day meals to school students across the country.

It was also alleged that the foundation was thwarting any calls for a serious probe to unearth any wrong doings. APF recently reconstituted its board after the exit of four high-profile independent trustees—Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, former Infosys chief financial officer V. Balakrishnan, co-founder of ChrysCapital Raj Kondur, and adviser to Manipal Education and Medical Group, Abhay Jain.

A letter written by the erstwhile audit committee pointing out glaring violations also surfaced against the foundation and its chairman and his deputy. The allegations have been largely directed at Madhu Pandit Dasa, APF's chairman, and Chanchalapathi Dasa, vice-chairman, and people associated with them.

The resignations, fuelled by a fallout between independent trustees and the foundation, has led to widespread speculation that questions the workings and finances of APF. Since the surfacing of allegations, there have been widespread calls for a probe into the charges. Several activists sought their respective state governments to order a probe.

The central and state governments fund a significant portion of the mid-day meal programme that currently caters to over 19,000 schools in 12 states and two union territories across the country. Donations are another major source of income for APF.

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