Chief Minister N. Rangasamy said the territorial administration will soon take a decision on the need for appointing a government nominee to look after the administration of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Replying to a calling attention in the Assembly related to some incidents, including financial mismanagement of Ashram’s trust funds, illegal sale and lease of its properties, he said that several petitions against the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram were received from the public and inmates/devotees of the Ashram.
All petitions were forwarded to the Deputy Collector (Revenue), North, for conducting enquiry and report.
However, the enquiry had to be withheld following the interim stay granted by the High Court based on a writ petition by the Trustees of Ashram in October 2012. Counter affidavit had been filed to vacate the order. “The government is awaiting further orders from the court to restart the enquiry,” the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, an interim reply (about the complaints) has been sent to the Additional Secretary to the Government (Home) on April 16 and the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 19, 2013.
“A decision on appointing officers to look after Ashram’s administration will be taken in consultation with the Law Department,” Mr. Rangasamy said.
Earlier, A. Anbazhagan (AIADMK), who moved the calling attention along with Ashok Anand and P.R. Siva (AINRC), said that hundreds of devotees, who donated their properties to the Ashram, had become inmates.
However, many inmates, in the recent past, had levelled allegations of harassment and illegal sale or lease of properties worth several crore.
But, the Ashram’s administrators had been wilfully preventing the officials from conducting any enquiry, he charged.
Mr. Anand said the Ashram was a public charitable trust, answerable to the government and people, and therefore an IAS ranked official should be posted as the administrator to run the Ashram.
V.M.C. Sivakumar (Independent) said that the government must demonstrate that the ashram functionaries were equal before the rule of law.
Mikes switched off
However, K. Laxmi Narayanan (Congress) said that it was not wise to make reckless accusations against the world famous ashram when it was the focal point of tourist attraction. When other Congress members stood up to speak on the subject, the Speaker refused to entertain them.
The mikes were also switched off. Protesting, the Congress members led by the Opposition Leader V. Vaithilingam staged a walkout.