Gokhale’s kin alleges misuse of Servants of India Society assets

Friday, Jun 5, 2015,18:38 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Pune | Great grandson of Gopal Krishna Gokhale today alleged that Servants of India Society founded by his illustrious predecessor has been taken over by corrupt elements and sought Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s intervention to save the legacy of the freedom fighter, whom Mahatma Gandhi called his Guru.
Sunil Gokhale, great grandson of the pioneering nationalist, alleged that those who now at the helm of the institution were engaged in making money by selling off its assets spread across the country for personal gains.
Instead of working for the ideals for which the Society was set up by my great grand father, the city-based secretary Milind Deshmukh, along with another senior member, has been selling the institutional properties to make personal gains. Of the nine members of the managing committee that runs the society, most are over 70 years of age and unable to attend the meetings due to old age problems, Gokhale told in a press conference here today.
The secretary of the society’s committee, Milind Deshmukh, when contacted, denied Sunil’s allegations and said All decisions being taken by the committee are in keeping with provisions of law and rules of Charity Commissioner.
The Servants of India Society was founded in 1905 by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, considered as a the leader of the moderate faction of the pre-independence Congress from whom Gandhi drew inspiration. Gokhale said the Society has properties in various places including  Mumbai, Allahabad, Nagpur and Kerala in addition to Pune.
He alleged that instead of carrying out social work and running projects for public benefit, the society has, of late, been striking deals with builders interested in raising commercial complexes, malls and hotels. All these places were donated to Gokhale during pre-independence period for social work by those who trusted him.
Now it is being sold off to make money by a few who have taken over the administration, he added. He also alleged that personal belonging of Gokhale in his own bunglow in Pune were gathering dust for want of proper upkeep arising from apathy of those at the helm of the society to preserve the legacy of the great nationalist.
Sunil appealed to Congress president to intervene to save the institution since Gokhale was part of the national movement launched by the Congress. The party (Congress) should take initiative to streamline the affairs of the historic institution by revamping the existing committee.