The Union health ministry has launched a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into allegations of corruption and financial irregularities at the regional branches of the Red Cross Society in four Indian states and a Union Territory. The complaints were brought to the ministry’s attention, prompting investigations into the Red Cross branches in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Karnataka, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, reported news agency PTI.
The governor of Tamil Nadu requested approval from the national headquarters (NHQ) of the Red Cross Society in Delhi in July 2020 for an investigation into serious allegations against the state branch. However, the accused chairman and other officebearers of the Tamil Nadu branch obtained a stay from the high court in Chennai, which stood vacated in June 2022. The chairman has since resigned and the matter is now with the CBI. The state managing committee has been dissolved and replaced with an ad-hoc committee.
In Kerala, the NHQ recommended dissolution of the managing committee after a case of misappropriation of funds in 2019 allegedly involving the chairman and vice-chairman. An interim committee under a high court judge was appointed, and a new managing committee has since taken over.
The general secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands branch was removed from their position after holding it for an extended period without proper elections, following a complaint that was referred to the lieutenant governor of the Union Territory.
In Assam, the managing body members visited the northeastern state and informed the governor about a delay in the election of the state managing committee and a land dispute. The high court ordered that elections be held, and a new state managing committee is now in place.
In Karnataka, a trust was registered in the name of Red Cross by the former chairman of the state branch, leading to an FIR and the dissolution of the trust.
(With PTI inputs.)