Two-member committee to examine issues in Akshaya Patra Foundation

It will be headed by former CVC K.V. Chowdary

City-based Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF), that runs mid-day meal programme for school children and has come under fire over “serious governance issues”, has formed a two-member committee headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) K.V. Chowdary “to look into all the issues raised by the erstwhile trustees and Audit Committee members”.

M.S. Unni Krishnan, former MD and CEO of Thermax, is the other member of the committee.

Whistleblowers had raised concerns over diversion and misappropriation of funds, among other governance issues, sources said. Non-executive independent trustees had differences with the temple trustees on the board of APF over the audit into these allegations leading to three independent trustees, including Infosys co-founder Mohandas Pai, resigning from the board recently.

“There are serious governance issues with the running of APF. When some of us brought it to the notice of the chairman, they not only did not pay any attention but forces were trying to stifle our voices. So I quit,” Mr. Pai had told The Hindu recently.

APF reconstituted the Board with three new members. They are Mr. Chowdary, M.S. Unni Krishnan, and Anil Swarup, former secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), government of India.

The two-member committee of Mr. Chowdary and Mr. Unni Krishnan “will review the observations of the erstwhile Audit Committee and those in the communications received from former trustees, and submit a comprehensive report after thoroughly examining all the issues raised within 4 weeks”, a statement from APF said on Saturday. The internal auditors will assist the two-member committee in this exercise, it added.

On the need for another committee to look into the allegations, Navina Nirada Dasa, head – communications, APF, said the erstwhile Audit Committee had made some observations, but many have now quit and the new committee will only continue their work.

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