Minority Affairs Ministry kept Maulana Azad Educational Foundation in trouble: Ousted Secretary

By Afroz Alam Sahil and M Reyaz, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Since ousted from the post of Secretary of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Minority Affairs on May 11, senior IPS officer Mohammad Wazir Ansari has refrained from talking to media, although he has made it very clear that he will fight till end.

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TwoCircles.net, however, has got copies of letters he wrote to then Minority Affairs Minister and ex-officio Chairman of the MAEF, K Rehman Khan. In this letter, he point by point refutes all accusations against himself questioning not only the rationale of his ousting, but also makes serious allegations on the Minister himself.

IPS MW Ansari and K Rehman Khan (Courtesy: Milli Gazette)

Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) is a “voluntary, non-political, non-profit making social service organization,” established on the occasion of birth centenary celebrations of India’s first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to promote education amongst the educationally backward minorities in particular and other weaker sections in general. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Honorable Minister of Minority Affairs is Ex-Officio President of the Foundation. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 on 6th July 1989.

In the letter, Ansari ‘strongly’ rejects all allegations terming them “baseless, biased, motivated,” aimed at tarnishing his image, adding, “these allegations have been made only because I have done the most required things to strengthen the basic infrastructure of the organsiation.”

IPS MW Ansari writes in the letter that all the steps he took as Secretary was aimed at diversifying the activities; and to recognize and revamp the MAEF.

The main allegation on Ansari was that he did not diligently follow the “due procedure” and rule book while undertaking the renovation work and shifting of office of MAEF. Due process implies making estimate, inviting tenders, etc. that “requires at least 5-6 months and then carrying out the work through contractors,” according to him.

Ansari elaborated in the letter to Rehman Khan that he was directed to shift the office of MAEF immediately and that “based on the immediate requirement, necessary repairs and renovation work was carried out by the MAEF in full public view” and the office was shifted in specified time. He added, “In the beginning this procedure (norms of issuing tenders, giving contracts, etc) was adopted for repair of two rooms of rest house, roof, boundary walls, etc, but it took a lot of time as well as incurred higher expenditure. Hence later, in order to save time and money, the renovation work of entire 1.6 acre area of the campus was carried out by MAEF itself within 4-5 months.”

Clearly in combatant mode, Ansari reminded the Minster, “All senior officials of the Ministry and the Minister themselves visited the premises after shifting and everybody appreciated the task done by MAEF”. He has also given para-wise response on the allegations made by the Ministry about misappropriation of fund while removing him from the post.

(Courtesy: Milli Gazette)

Another allegation on him was that while still Secretary of the MAEF, he also contested and is the member of several other organizations. He said in the letter that there is no law which bars him from being member of any socio-cultural organization; adding that he has always been member of several such bodies and that he is not alone.

Ansari goes a step ahead of defending himself and made serious allegations on the Ministry, saying that it never wanted MAEF to work freely. “The history of past seven years, i.e., since the post was made equivalent to the level of Joint-Secretary, the Ministry always tried its best to intervene in such a way that no regular Secretary could be posted in MAEF,” he writes on pages 17-18 of the letter, adding, “for almost three and half years, the MAEF had no regular Secretary resulting in the break down in performance of MAEF.”

He concludes, “All these episodes and sordid affairs are evident of the fact that the Ministry just desires to keep the MAEF always in trouble by not allowing any regular Secretary of MAEF to work on its mandate.”

He also questions the timing of his repatriation, right in the middle of the general election, and particularly the way it was done, and put serious allegation on the Minister. “After issuing my repatriation order, charge of Secretary, MAEF has been given three officers within a period of 20 days for the reason better known to the then Honorable President, MAEF or the Ministry,” he writes in this letter, mincing no word.

Rahman Khan first appointed DS Bist, managing director of National Minorities Financial Development Corporation as in-charge of the Foundation. Only a week later, he replaced Bist with MA Imam, an officer in his ministry, who too was removed from the position in two days to make way for Ali Ahmed Khan.

According to Milli Gazette, Rehman Khan defended his position saying in-spite of committing serious “procedural lapses”, he has been “repatriated to his earlier post”. He was quoted as saying, “We have appointed a sub-committee to look into the allegations of financial indiscipline and the expenditure of Rs 64 lakh incurred by the Foundation for the repair and renovation of MAEF campus and it found him guilty”.

In a letter addressed to Rehman Khan (dated 15/05/2014), IPS Ansari clarifies, “The whole report of NBCC is very much clear but it appears that no one has gone through this report minutely except the last para where they have mentioned about percentage of likely variation based on theoretical assessment which means they had not conducted physical assessment of the work,” adding, “The holistic view of the entire report of NBCC has not been taken by the officers of the Ministry and they have mischievously interpreted non-achieving interpretations of rules, misguiding the Minster/President, MAEF.”

Punishment for not favouring NGOs/people according to wishes of Minster?

The article in the MG further writes, “Sources close to Ansari said he was made “sacrificial lamb” for the alter ego of the minister whose wishes for grants to certain NGOs and largesse to some people were not honoured by Ansari known as an honest and upright officer who brought life to MAEF.” It however, did not name any organization, although they claimed to have copies of the letter too.

When contacted, IPS Ansari refused to say any word. However, copies of letters and other documents are available with TwoCircles.net brings the name of PA Inamdar, Chairman of the Sub-Committee of MAEF, who is also member of several other government bodies. PA Inamdar is Pune based Educationist and Philanthropist and is the member of several charitable organizations. In a letter dated May 9, 2014, addressed to MA Imam, Director (IM), he writes, “The point I want to raise and draw your attention to material fact is that he is hell bent to give an adverse and negative report…”

Referring to several “news and rumours” about his appointment as Treasurer of MAEF, he adds, “He has been running so many educational institution schools and colleges etc and are also related with other such educational organization and co-ordinate and co-operate with such organisations, in such condition/situation it would be very difficult for him to maintain/remain neutral once any such NGOs applies for Grant-in-Aids.”

Referring to his early days at MAEF, he says that he had conducted an internal study and has found that “all VVIPS/VIP run NGOs referred NGOs or related NGOs tried to bend or twist rules favouring them.”

When TCN contacted PA Inamdar for his version, he laughed out at the suggestion that he or his organizations are being favoured. “He perhaps does not know what all kinds of work I am involved in. I am too senior now to seek any position. I try to do whatever I can for the well-being of the community,” he told TCN over phone.

Assked about the culpability of MW Ansari, he said, “You are aware that in bureactirc work, it is still considered fine if a work is delayed or not done, but you have to follow the procedure,” adding, “He (MW Ansari) is a good person, but being an IPS perhaps he misjudged things.”

PA Inamdar reminded that MW Ansari has accepted on paper his guilt and said that he might not had any wrong intention, but he needs to give a “convincing explanation,” rather than making personal attacks.

Replacement Ali Ahmed Khan severely indicted by CAG for ‘embezzling funds’:

As the government was packing its bags, then Minority Affairs Minister, K Rehman Khan had removed Ansari on allegations of misappropriation of funds and for not following the procedures and Ali Ahmed Khan was finally made Secretary after few hiccups, who took charge on May 21.

Documents available with TwoCircles.net, however, puts serious question mark on his choice as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted him only few weeks back for embezzling funds, irregular reimbursement of medical bills (and receiving medical premiums from two departments), irregular use of staff car, and wrong payment to advocates.

Khan was earlier serving as regional Director of Council for Leather Export, Kolkata and was appointed Secretary of Central Wakf Council (CWC) under Ministry of Minority Affairs in August, 2012. THE CAG “Inspection Report” on the accounts of CWC for the period 2012-2013, issued on May 1, 2014.

In fact the CAG report noted, “Audit is of the view that above case should be examined and action may be taken in the light of the examination under intimation of Audit.” In fact report had demanded that amount he wrongly reimbursed should be recovered and deposited to the government account.

The Audit report had also questioned his eligibility fulfilling the requirements of the Secretary of CWC, and urged the Ministry for verification. About a month after the said Audit report was published, on June 10, 2014 all the staff of CWC jointly wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, complaining against financial irregularities in CWC by its Secretary Ali Ahmed Khan.

Clearly the concerned Minister was well aware of the audit report that seriously indicted Khan and the following complaint, and yet about two weeks later Khan was made the Secretary of a very important Foundation. At a time when UPA II was almost certain to lose, such hurried appointment can only be explained by as favoritism and nothing else.