Gujarat’s Charity Commissioner has frozen the bank accounts of the NGO associated with independent legislator Jignesh Mevani’s oxygen plant project. Mevani and the trust have decided to challenge the order in the high court.
Charity Commissioner Y.M, Shukla had on Monday issued show cause notice to NGO ‘We the People’, seeking reply from the organisation on authorisation given to the Independent legislator from Vadgam to raise funds from the public in the name of the organisation for setting up of oxygen plants and concentrators for his constituency.
For the past some time, Mevani has been in his constituency, appealing to the people to raise funds for setting up of an oxygen plant in the area.
“‘We the People’ charitable trust is a registered trust with the Charity Commissioner’s office and the trust has been allowed to carry out public welfare activities and collect funds to do so. When I started appealing to the people to come forward and donate to set up an oxygen plant in Vadgam, many came forward including this organisation. We have decided to set up an oxygen plant, ventilator facilities and other important infrastructure regarding Covid care in my constituency,” said Mevani.
“But suddenly on Monday, through the media reports, we came to know that the Charity Commissioner has frozen the SBI account of ‘We the People’. The Commissioner says that as the organization didn’t respond to the show cause notice issued to them on May 3, seeking to know authorisation given to me for crowdfunding. But the organization has, till date, not received any such show cause notice.
“This is a political vendeta against me in the worst form and that too during such critical times, when we are fighting Covid. This is a time when we should be helping each other and keeping aside all political rivalry to fight against Covid. If I am doing something in my constituency which the BJP is not doing, this seems to be a plan to prevent me from carrying out such welfare activity,” added Mevani.
Anand Yagnik, the advocate for the trust, said: “The charity Commissioner has acted on a vague and frivolous complaint. The Charity Commissioner does not have any jurisdiction on entertaining such vague and frivolous complaints based on assumptions that the trust is fraudulent. Before issuing such orders, the Charity Commissioner should have listened to what the trust has to say about their queries.
“Merely basing on the assumption that we will misuse the funds gathered, a responsible person like the Commissioner should not carry out such orders. We are even ready to take all the permissions necessary required to set up such plants and other infrastructure for Covidcare from the government.”
“We are going to challenge the Charity Commissioner’s order in the Gujarat High Court as well as even in the apex court, if the need arises,” added Yagnik.