Nehru memorial library gets clean chit, director feels 'vindicated'

The ministry in a communique to the pay and accounts office "set right" anomalies in two of its earlier missives and admitted that it had made a mistake.

The ministry's apology letter said: "Although funds had been transferred by NMML to the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund with the approval of the competent authority, it has led to an anomaly. A decision has been taken to issue an amendment to the sanction letters to remove the anomaly."

Mukherjee, director of the NMML, said in response: "I am feeling very good about it. The position that we have taken has been fully vindicated."

"Everything that we have maintained about the fact that nothing had been done outside the rule and was in accordance with the norms that the money was used for the legitimate purpose to bring our selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru has been proved right," Mukherjee told IANS.

"The Nehru fund has been archiving, publishing and aiding research to keep the legacy of Nehru alive for posterity for the last 40 years. It is the most important tool for research on Nehru that we have. Scholars know about it and there has never been any ambiguity on it," she added.

Founded at the initiative of the government under the ministry of culture in 1964 after the death of India's first prime minister, the NMML, housed at Teen Murti Bhavan where he lived, also serves as a centre for advanced studies.

An autonomous body, it is a repository of the personal memorabilia of Nehru.
The ministry's letter absolves the 46-year-old library of charges of misuse of funds and mismanagement that had been heaped on it by the ministry's chief controller of accounts in a report.

The report in May had alleged that the NMML, one of India's top research institutions, had channelled Rs.5 crore earmarked for publication work to a trust run by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The report had said money for the "publication of selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru and C. Rajagopalachari, salaries, development of museum and installation of CCTVs" were diverted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.

But Mukherjee said: "Now that the big issue in the report prepared by the ministry has been settled, I hope the smaller issues in it will also be put to rest. The attack was motivated, illegitimate and unfair. I am glad that the honour of the NMML has been restored."

After the report by the ministry's controller of acounts was made public, a group of 57 scholars, including Rajmohan Gandhi, Sunil Khilnani, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Ramachandra Guha, Nayanjot Lahiri, Sumit Sarkar, Krishna Kumar, Partha Chatterjee, Rukun Advani, Mahesh Rangarajan and Mushirul Hasan, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to set in motion steps necessary to purge corruption at NMML and revive its lost glory.

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