February 08, 2005

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Cleared by UK Government of Funds Misuse

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Cleared by UK Government of Funds Misuse



LONDON, UK, February 6, 2005:

The UK Charity Commission issued a report today which effectively clears the
UK Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Sewa International of misuse of funds collected in
UK and spent in India for rehabilitation after the Gujarat 2001 earthquake.
The investigation showed that all of the money, US$4.3 million, could be
accounted for and that the charges brought by left-wing Indians in the UK that money
was being misdirected to radical Hindus was unfounded. The report states, "The
Commission is satisfied that the trustees have taken sufficient steps to ensure funds
have been applied in accordance with the appeal." The complete report is at
"source" above."


In the aftermath of Gujarat earthquake, there were lots of
anti-Hindu elements in US and in UK that had attacked many
hardworking organizations.


In UK, a Muslim group called Awaaz was formed and tried to ruin
Sewa International (an arm of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in UK).

They even took it to the Charity commission of UK in hopes of
ruining them.

Well, the Charity Commission of UK has come out with its' final
report. There is only one thing I can say, the Bakwas of Awaaz has
been proven to be real bakwas.

The report can be found at

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/investigations/inquiryreports/hss.asp

(also copied for your convenience).

Gaurang


Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

Registered Charity No. 267309

Introduction

1. This report is a statement of the results of an Inquiry
conducted under Section 8 of the Charities Act 1993.

2. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh ('the Charity') was registered as a
charity on 29 April 1974. The object of the Charity is to advance
the Hindu religion and to educate the public in the Hindu ideals
and way of life. The Charity is based in Leicester.

3. Income for the Charity for the financial year ending 31 March
2002 was £1,267,570. This includes £909,112 received by Sewa
International.

Background

4. The Charity had set up a project arm in 1991 known as Sewa
International (UK). The purpose of the project arm was to help
aged, sick, poor and distressed persons.

5. On 26 January 2001 a devastating earthquake struck the state of
Gujarat, India resulting in many thousands of people being killed
and millions being made homeless.

6. Within a few days the Charity had launched the Gujarat
Earthquake Appeal Fund ('the appeal') through Sewa International to
help those suffering and to aid the rebuilding of the villages. A
number of prominent people became patrons of the appeal.

Issues

7. Following concerns expressed over the administration and
expenditure of the appeal, an Inquiry was opened on 4 October 2002.
The purpose of the Inquiry was to establish whether the funds
raised had been properly applied in accordance with the terms of
the appeal.

8. During the course of the Inquiry it was also alleged that the
Charity had not been clearly identified on some of the appeal
literature. It was suggested that the identity of the charity was
important because of the alleged links between the Charity and the
Hindu Nationalist Organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ('RSS').

Findings

9. Sewa International launched the appeal in January 2001 following
the earthquake in Gujarat. Primary accounting records supplied by
the Charity show that £2,330,000 was banked in the name of the
appeal.

10. The Charity produced evidence that all the funds raised as a
result of the appeal had been sent to an established Indian
non-governmental organisation known as Sewa Bharati. This
organisation would utilise the funds towards the rebuilding of six
villages in Gujarat.

11. The Charity produced a detailed breakdown of the application of
funds by Sewa International (UK) in India. The funds were utilised
towards the following projects:

* £1,062,000 for the reconstruction of six villages
* £123,352 for schools project 1
* £1,282,352 for schools project 2
* £118,887 for other projects

These amounts show that Sewa International (UK) contributed 74% of
the total project costs of £3,507,914.

12. The Commission is satisfied that the trustees have taken
sufficient steps to ensure funds have been applied in accordance
with the appeal. In January 2004, Sewa International (UK) arranged
for a delegation of 30 people from major donors to visit Gujarat to
view the completed rehabilitation projects. The delegates produced
a report which confirms they were satisfied that the funds had been
spent in accordance with the Gujarat appeal.

13. Formal audited Accounts for the total income and expenditure of
Sewa Bharati were not received.

14. The Charity advised the Commission in 1991 that Sewa
International had been set up as a project arm of the Charity and
the Commission agreed that the trustees of the Charity had the
power to do this. Some of the appeal literature and the Sewa
International (UK) website did not clearly identify the link with
the Charity. On some items the Charity's registered number was
quoted, but the name was not.

15. During the Inquiry, we have been asked to consider the alleged
links between the Charity and RSS. The trustees stated that the
Charity has no formal organisational links with RSS and that there
is only an ideological commonality between the two organisations.
Therefore, owing to the Commission being satisfied that the funds
have been properly expended it was not necessary to consider any
alleged links during this Inquiry.

Outcome of the Inquiry

16. The Commission was unable to establish for itself how the funds
were utilised as its request for visas to visit India to undertake
an inspection visit were refused by the Indian government.

17. The Charity has been advised that if they wish to use the name
Sewa International, all promotional material must state clearly
that Sewa International (UK) is a project arm of the Charity.

Wider Lessons

18. Charities working internationally, like all charities, must
keep accounting records that show and explain all transactions and
are sufficient to ensure that statutory Accounts can be prepared.
In particular the accounting records must provide a record of
assets and liabilities and details of the nature of all receipts
and payments. For further information on charities working
internationally see:
www.charitycommission.gov.uk/supportingcharities/cwi.asp

19. Where a charity applies funds internationally it is under a
duty to take sufficient steps to ensure the funds are applied in
accordance with the appeal. Ideally a charity should require the
organisation undertaking the charitable relief work to supply a
copy of its audited Accounts.



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