Raju-promoted EMRI to make financial details public (Lead)

January 13th, 2009 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuHyderabad, Jan 13 (IANS) The Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), a non-profit organisation promoted by disgraced Satyam Computer Services founder B. Ramalinga Raju, has decided to make public all its financial details.The existing EMRI board members Tuesday said they stand by the cause of the organisation but added they would make all the information public, especially information related to public money received from any agency, state or central government.

“We also believe that all financial and operational details of EMRI, including the MoUs (memorandums of understanding) entered into with various state governments should be made public so that people can judge for themselves the work being done,” said a joint statement by three members.

Jayaprakash Narayan, national coordinator of the NGO Lok Satta, K. Krishnam Raju, chairman of the Suchitra Group, and Raj Reddy of Carnegie Mellon University said they would stand by the cause of EMRI under the current difficult circumstances.

Rajat Gupta, chairman of the Indian School of Business (ISB) board, is out of the country but he continues to be a member of the EMRI board.

“We believe that the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water, and the acts of commission or omission of founders of EMRI in other organisations should not undermine public interest in the vital area of emergency relief and management,” said the joint statement.

The board is in the process of appointing an independent agency to go into all financial and operational details of EMRI, “so that the board and the public were assured that highest ethical standards are observed in managing the EMRI”.

“All of us are purely honorary members, and we have never accepted any remuneration or sitting fee. We have been giving time to EMRI as a labour of love, and in the belief and knowledge that the pioneering work done by EMRI is vital to provide emergency relief and save lives and limbs,” the existing board members said.

The statement came a day after former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam resigned as chairman emeritus of EMRI in view of the massive fraud admitted by Raju last week.

Former chairman of IT industry body Nasscom Kiran Karnik has also resigned following his appointment to the new board formed by the central government to rescue Satyam Computer Services.

With their resignations, the number of members who quit the board has gone up to seven.

K.V. Kamath of ICICI Bank, CII chief mentor Tarun Das and Krishna Palepu of the Harvard Business School have already resigned. Their resignations came soon after that of Ramalinga Raju as chairman of both Satyam and EMRI. His brother B. Rama Raju also quit the EMRI board.

Ramalinga Raju, who admitted committing a Rs.70 billion fraud in Satyam over the years, has been jailed along with Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas.

EMRI was formed in 2005 as corporate social responsibility initiative by the Byrraju Foundation of the family of Ramalinga Raju.

EMRI has been running an ambulance service which has saved many lives of the injured in road accidents.

The Andhra Pradesh government took over the service last year but allowed the Raju family to have a say in the organisation. According to EMRI CEO Venkat Changavalli, the Raju family has been contributing five percent or Rs.80 million annually.

Following the huge success of the service in Andhra Pradesh, it was last year extended to seven other states - Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Assam.

EMRI is running 1,534 ambulances in eight states and has set a target of reaching 10,000 ambulances. It has a workforce of 10,000, half of them in Andhra Pradesh.

Chengavalli said the Satyam development would have no impact on the EMRI operations. The Andhra Pradesh government has also allayed the public apprehensions in this regard.

Last year EMRI signed an MoU with the city of Austin in Texas in the US to share knowledge and processes for better emergency management. It also signed an agreement with Stanford University, the US, to offer a two-year full time residential Postgraduate Programme in Emergency Care.

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