Chennai, July 19 (IANS) Tamil political magazine Thuglak’s Editor S. Gurumurthy on Sunday alleged the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) is not paying rent for its office, Sathyamurthy Bhavan, belonging to the Tamil Nadu Congress Charitable Trust (TNCCT).
In a series of tweets, Gurumurthy said: “I reliably understand from insiders that TNCC does not pay rent for Bhavan to TNCC trust. It is breach of trust, if true. The trust will lose tax exemption. TNCC must know Sathyamurthy Bhavan is not its property.”
“Is Congress party paying market rent (even rent) for Sathyamurthy Bhavan? Bhavan belongs to TNCC trust which is not for Congress but for poor, education etc. (More on it tomorrow) It is a 20 ground property. For building alone, rent will be 100/ft. Several lacs pm.”
Reacting to the charge, former state Congress chief Su. Thirunavukkarasar told IANS: “Gurumurthy has no proof for his allegations. The TNCCT was created by later Congress leader and Chief Minister K. Kamaraj to help the poor. What is Gurumurthy’s interest in that. He wants to damage the image of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.”
Gurumurthy is trying to draw attention to himself, he said.
In more tweets, Gurumurthy said: “I have not come out with the evidence I have about how the trustees of TNCC are not administering the trust but family retainers do from Delhi. For them TNCC property worth thousands of cr is more valuable than TNCC or its leaders.”
“Tomorrow I will come out with what are the noble objects of the trust and how the trust has done everything other than promoting the objects for which it was established.”
In response, Thirunavukkarasar said the TNCCT renders financial assistance to poor for studies, and medical treatment and to people during natural disasters.
“The Trust has also donated sizeable funds to several reputed organisations involved in helping poor. The wedding hall is let out to people at a lower rent,” he added.
On the issue of rent paid by the party for its office, Thirunavukkarasar said: “The rent might be paid in a lump sum or in instalments. It is for the auditors and the management of the Trust to worry. Why Gurumurthy is worrying about it?”
On Saturday, Gurumurthy had said the trustees of TNCCT are appointed by Congress’ interim chief Sonia Gandhi.
To this, Thirunavukkarasar said: “The Trustees are appointed by the TNCC Executive Committee. The Congress party’s Tamil Nadu unit, the Trust and the properties are part of All India Congress Committee. There is nothing wrong in having a person from the central office to be a Trustee.”
On Friday, Gurumurthy began his attack on the Congress by tweeting: “National Herald Scam II brewing. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee trust has properties worth 20K crore. Annual income in crores. Kanishk Singh, Rahul Gandhi’s right-hand man, has taken over the trust documents and accounts. What are trustees like GK Vasan and Jayanthi Natarajan doing?”
The Trust has about 13 acre land at the heart of Chennai, worth several crores.
“Actually the question to ask was why nothing has been done on the land to increase the Trust’s income so that more poor could be helped and the party’s base could be expanded,” Thirunavukkarasar said.
According to him, whenever a proposal was mooted to develop the property, one of the groups would complain to the headquarters to scuttle the proposal.
He said the Trust’s money cannot be spent for anything else other than for the objectives it was created.