Activist asks court for inquiry into MEA ‘gifts scam’

January 13th, 2012 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) A social activist Friday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Allahabad High Court to seek an inquiry into media reports about alleged fraud in the acquisition of gifts by the external affairs ministry for foreign dignitaries.

The petition has been filed by Dr. Nutan Thakur, a social activist associated with the National RTI Forum, a Lucknow-based civil society working in the field of transparent governance.

In her petition, Thakur has requested the high court to direct the external affairs ministry to conduct an inquiry into all such purchases in the last five years (2007-11) and to punish those who are found guilty of purchasing substandard gifts at higher prices.

Thakur has requested that the prime minister’s office be directed to keep supervision over the enquiry and the action taken as it was a question of national prestige and honour.

In light of allegations about sub-standard gifts being purchased by the protocol division of the external affairs ministry, the ministry has ordered an internal inquiry, said reliable sources.

But there is so far no indication that any action has been taken against those responsible for alleged fraud.

According to media reports, high-value items, to be presented to foreign dignitaries, were sourced from some favoured state government emporiums that do not stock or sell the items at all.

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