After releasing a Rs 50-lakh grant to an NGO even before signing a memorandum of understanding with it, the Consumer Affairs Ministry has now ordered an in-depth financial audit of all its grant-in-aid schemes in the wake of allegations of improper allocation of funds.
"The ministry has asked the chief controller of accounts to conduct a special audit to look into all aspects," said a senior accounts wing official, confirming the review.
The funds, running into crores, were disbursed from the Consumer Welfare Fund of the ministry over the last three years among 35 NGOs with the purpose of promoting consumer awareness.
The ministry's decision to conduct an internal review coincides with the Central Vigilance Commission's decision to admit a complaint on the alleged multi-crore scam involving the Fund.
"We have received a complaint and we shall examine it," said CVC secretary Sujit Banerjee.
The complaint was filed by whistle blower Nitin Saxena, who himself is associated with a Delhi-based NGO, All India Consumer Education Society.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Yashwant Bhave, denied any relation between the ministry's decision to order a special audit and the complaint filed in CVC.
"I don't even know what the complaint (filed in CVC) says," he said, adding that the audit was part of a normal practice to confirm that due diligence was observed while using the funds.