Sanjay Raut accuses Shrikant Shinde's charity foundation of misuse of funds; Shinde Sena hits back

15 April,2024 06:39 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Sanjay Raut claimed the Shrikant Shinde Foundation may have abused over Rs 550 crore for non-charitable purposes, prompting an additional investigation into its operations.

Sanjay Raut/ Screengrab

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut raised concerns about the source of income of a charity organization controlled by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's son, MP Shrikant Shinde, implying that funds could be misused for political objectives. However, the Shiv Sena, led by Shinde, denied these charges, emphasising the Foundation's developmental initiatives and financial support to the underprivileged.

Raut stated writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and State Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the foundation, indicating a desire to include investigative authorities such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), reported PTI.

According to the report, he said that, despite his request for information under the Right to Information Act, the Maharashtra Charity Commissioner's office refused to reveal specifics about the foundation's funds and expenses, raising concerns about its operation.

Speaking to the reporters, per the PTI report, Raut said, "Shrikant Shinde Foundation controlled by CM Shinde's son and Lok Sabha member Shrikant Shinde is registered with the Maharashtra Charity Commissioner. However, despite seeking information under the Right to Information Act 2005, no information on the source of funds and expenses is given. This raises suspicion on the functioning of the Foundation, and the money collected in the name of charity could have been misused for political gains."

According to Raut, the Shrikant Shinde Foundation may have abused over Rs 550 crore for non-charitable purposes, prompting additional investigation into its operations, the news agency report stated.

Shrikant Shinde is the sitting MP from Kalyan in Thane district and seeking another term in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

Raut, speaking about the issue further, said, "Shrikant Shinde had published several advertisements in newspapers in the past about the social works of his foundation. However, when a lawyer, Nitin Satpute, sought details of the foundation's donations and expenditures from the Maharashtra Charity Commissioner a month back, the office did not share the information." He alleged, "It seems the charity commissioner is under tremendous political pressure."

The Sena (UBT) MP further stated, "I have written about this foundation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis. People behind this organisation can be booked under PMLA. We will try to file a case against it through ED or CBI."

In response to these allegations, Shiv Sena spokesman Jyoti Waghmare defended the foundation's conduct, claiming that it has carried out several developmental projects and offered financial aid for medical treatments and operations to the disadvantaged. She accused Raut of making accusations because of his negative attitude, the report further stated.

Waghmare emphasised the foundation's efforts to provide educational support to children afflicted by natural catastrophes and to help flood victims in Kerala.

"The Foundation has undertaken numerous developmental works as well as provided financial assistance for medical treatment and surgeries to poor people. Raut is levelling allegations because of his 'vikrit' attitude," Waghmare was quoted as saying. She further said, "The organisation not only helped the people affected by the natural calamity (referring to the Irshalwadi landslide case) but also extended financial support to the flood-affected people in Kerala," said Waghmare.

In a snarky remark, Waghmare offered to fund Raut's medical fees if he required assistance in seeing the foundation's beneficial achievements.

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