In the past one year, ISKCON-Bangalore and Akshaya Patra have come under attack in the media and the same was discussed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. A House Committee of ten members of the legislative assembly was set up to investigate into the activities of ISKCON-Bangalore and Akshaya Patra Foundation on Oct 16th, 2010.
The Committee met several government officials, gathered hundreds of documents, examined the evidence provided from various sources and finally presented its findings to the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Jan 11th, 2011.
We are pleased to share the salient features of the House Committee Report with you,
That in essence says the allegations made against ISKCON-Bangalore and Akshaya
Patra Foundation is false and baseless.
We thank all our donors and supporters who have stood by us at all times, especially
During the agonizing and trying times that we endured with malicious propaganda. We continue to seek your kind support in our services to the society and underprivileged children of our country. We redouble our determination to improve our services by further improving our governance, accountability and efficiencies.
Yours in the service of humanity,
Madhu Pandit Dasa
Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Salient Findings of the HOUSE COMMITTEE
constituted to enquire into
the activities of The Akshaya Patra Foundation
1. Enquiry into the quality of the programme of Akshara Dasoha being implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Donations collected by ISKCON from various sources for the purpose of maintaining good Quality food are being properly used. The Principal Secretary of the Department of Education, On behalf of the Government, has stated in the meeting held on 22-09-2010, that there is Nothing wrong in collecting donation, to maintain the quality of the food. This is accepted by The House Committee.
2. Evaluation of the proper usage of government grants under the Akshara Dasoha programme; investigating if there was any misuse of these grants. Examining that proper accounts aremaintained for the usage of the government grants.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been spending more than what it has been receiving from the government as grants for the Akshara Dasoha scheme. The Committee has also examined the related audited reports. Hence the Committee desires to express its opinion that there is no evidence of misuse of the government grants in this programme. (See page no. 11 of the Report).
3. Investigation about unauthorized collection of funds from schools where Akshaya Patra food is being supplied; collection of donations from the public as well as from abroad - despite the government releasing grants for implementing the Akshara Dasoha programme. To scrutinize the proper usage of the donations thus collected, for children's mid-day meal programme.
The Committee has examined the Guidelines for the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme released by the Central Government in 2004 and is of the opinion that if ISKCON has utilized the donations received from individuals, charitable trusts and foreign countries for the purpose it was received, then it is not irregular. Therefore, the Committee wishes to express its clear opinion that there is no need of taking any steps in this regard.
4. Portrayal of poor school children for the purpose of collecting donations, in such manner as to bring discredit to the nation.
The Committee has become aware that although Akshaya Patra Foundation has raised funds from foreign countries there is no evidence that the Foundation has acted in any manner that bring discredit to the country. Further the committee strongly condemned any organization that will cause discredit to the nation by any activity. If this activity repeats and is proven, the Committee condemns and recommends that strict action be taken against such organizations.
5. To examine misuse of funds by ISKCON, its engagement in real estate business and misuse of the Akshara Dasoha programme in this regard.
The opinion given by the state's Advocate General on 20-09-2010, has revealed that there is no restriction for doing real estate business by India Heritage Trust, ISKCON charities or any trust in pursuance of the fulfillment of its objectives. The real estate business (for fulfilling its objectives) engaged in by these two trusts is not illegal. This is the opinion of the Committee.
6. Other issues
On examining the documents available about ISKCON and its associate institutions, it is clear that there are ten trustees who are ISKCON missionaries who hail from different parts of the country and also there is an election process adopted for its governing council. Hence it is not a family trust or a trust controlled by any particular family.
The matter about Mahadevapura land is pending before the court. Hence it is sub judice matter to discuss and decide on this either in the assembly or in the committee. Therefore, the committee recommends that strict action be taken based the decision of the High Court.
Public opinion on this issue received by post, email, blogs and other sources
M V Rajasekharan (Former Union Minister of State for Planning, Government of India)
From today’s newspapers report I find the 10-Member House Panel constituted by the State Legislative Assembly, headed by Sri N Yogish Bhat, which looked into the allegations made against the Akshaya Patra (Akshara Dasoha) Mid-day Meal Scheme for school children, has given a clean chit to ISKCON. It is a great tribute to the ISKCON’s great work rendered to provide mid-day meals to lakhs of school children in the State. We all knew it was an allegation made by vested interests against ISKCON. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my congratulations for the great work which Madhu Pandit Dasa is doing through ISKCON.
P G R Sindhia (Former Minister for Home, Finance, Industries & Transport, Government of Karnataka)
I was very happy that the Legislature House Committee finds no fault with Akshaya Patra Foundation of ISKCON in the implementation of its programme. You were unnecessarily put to tension because of the baseless allegations made against ISKCON in 2009. At last, the truth prevails. We are happy that the image of ISKCON will go high by this report and it would inspire you to continue your service to the society more vigour.
This is with reference to the news item in Deccan Herald "House committee finds no fault with ISKCON" (DH, 12 Jan 2011). I am very pleased to see that truth is still the winner in this age of Kaliyuga. Mr. Shivakumar miserably failed in his attempt to malign the good work done by ISKCON. In fact, it is the job of the government to look after the people who pay their salaries through taxes. But alas, people like DK Shivakumar are a hindrance to country's development. If he cannot do anything good for the country other than making unlimited money for himself, let him atleast desist himself from putting hindrances to others, lest he will be labeled as a traitor. If there is even a minute amount of self-respect, which I seriously doubt, he should publicly apologize to ISKCON. Mr. Shivakumar you are a shame to
this country. We all repent your existence.
Indian Express Ganesan
If ISKCON is to be found fault for the ad. then so must UNICEF, OXFAM and a host of other charity agencies. Mr DKS should be put in jail for making these insults on ISKCON. They say public memory is short but I cannot forget that this imbecile made fun of the food that ISKCON serves to children and in the floor of the assembly said that ISKCON should add onions and garlic in the food. Anything that Mr DKS utters really turns one's stomach and causes revulsion. Shiv Kumar is not worried about the Catholics who collect lot of money in India and send them to Rome in order to enable the pope to pay for the child abuse crimes by their clergy man all over the world except the third world countries.
Indian Express - Sanil
ISKCON & Akshaya Patra is going a great job... We should appreciate their dedication and commitment... Why can’t DKS do something productive and serve the people...
Indian Express - Row
The govt must now form a committee to investigate DK Shivakumar himself. Why does this man have so many issues with an organization that is so clean? It won’t be surprising if he were to be caught doing illegal stuff in everything he does! Akshaya Patra has been awarded the ‘Gold Shield’ by the
Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI) for Excellence in financial reporting! What more proof does he want?? Does he know better than the ICAI itself?? This only proves he has some other personal agenda ulterior motive to create this issue. He is not quite the saint himself to be accusing other people of such malpractice!! It is time for us citizens to show people like DK Shivakumar their right place.
Such people who destroy the few good things we have left in our society must be immediately thrown out of the government and maybe even prosecuted for wasting everyone’s time and money.
The issue should be, are there really starving kids? If there are it should be ok to portray reality. If not, the government wants to project a nice picture while kids starve and the government does not care about starving kids.