The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing regional branches of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) over complaints of corruption and financial irregularities, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

Inquiries into allegations and dissolution of management councils were reported in five States/UT—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Assam and Karnataka.

The IRCS is a humanitarian organisation and offers relief measures in emergency situations, especially in the area of healthcare.

“It has been noted that certain allegations have been marked against Indian Red Cross Society and regional branches. Ministry would like to clarify that the CBI inquiry has been initiated in these cases,” an official said. The amount involved is yet to be determined, officials said.

Corruption Charges

In Tamil Nadu, there were allegations in the functioning of the State branch of the IRCS and it was brought to light by the Governor of the State in July 2020. The accused (Chairman) and the office bearers had moved the Court for a stay which was subsequently vacated. The Chairman resigned and the Governor of the State has dissolved the managing committee and replaced it with an adhoc committee. The CBI is probing this issue.

In Kerala, allegations of misappropriation of funds had surfaced in 2019. This came after the national headquarters recommended the dissolution of the then State Managing Committee.

In Karnataka, a trust was reportedly registered in the name of Red Cross. And after lodging an FIR, the trust stands dissolved, a health ministry official said.

Assam saw a delay in election of the State managing committee of IRCS and a land dispute led to the managing body members to apprise the governor of the issues. The High Court ordered for election and now a new State managing committee is in place.

In the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the general secretary of the branch was holding on to his position for a long time without proper elections. Based on a complaint, the matter was referred the Lt Governor of the UT.