Deafening silence by IACF creating haze over funds for Modi rally in Sydney

Dr. Nihal Agar and Mr. Balesh Dhankhar with PM Modi in New Delhi in 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Dr. Nihal Agar with PM Modi in Nov.2014  in Sydney
The IAC F team including Mr. Ramyavaran (second on left of Mr. Modi and Mr. Balesh Dhankhar (Standing) with PM Modi in Sydney in Nov. 2014

By Ashok Kumar

The truth behind existence of  the Indian Australian Community Foundation (IACF) has been uncovered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) documents in possession of The Indian Sub-continent Times (The IST).

The IST  wrote in 2016  and again in 2017 regarding IACF, which was formed to organise the rally for  Prime Minister Narendra Modi  in Sydney in November, 2014. The IST sought information whether IACF still exists or has been disbanded after Mr. Modi returned to India and what happened to funds, raised by IACF, using the name of PM Modi.

IACF Director, Dr. Nihal Agar, made an announcement at a public meeting in November 2014 in Sydney that once  Mr. Modi leaves Australia, the IACF will be disbanded. Later, Dr. Agar and Mr Balesh Dhankhar visited India under the platform of IACF and met Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi in March 2015, implying that it still exists, despite the public undertaking to disband it.

Yet, The IST had emailed IACF office bearers several times, seeking information about its status and funds collected for the Modi rally in Sydney as a number of businesses paid huge sponsorship money to get a ‘darshan’  (a meeting ) of PM  Modi but no one answered the emails barring their accountant Mr. Yateender Gupta, who said that under Australian laws he is not supposed to reveal the details except to the clients and asserted on the phone that the IACF has been disbanded. Money was not raised only from the businesses, but was also raised from associations and community members. The IST has the information that one community member paid $250/person for the tickets. Such is the lack of clarity that nobody knows how many community members and associations paid how much money.

ASIC extract of IACF

The IST’s further investigation into the matter from ASIC, reveals that the IACF, formed on 14 Oct. 2014, was renewed on 14 Oct. 2017, thereby busting the lies of its supposed disbandonment.   The document states the principal place of IACF business as 1/168 Burwood Rd, Burwood, NSW 2134, which, incidentally, happens to be the business address of  Mr. Yateender Gupta.

The ASIC document lists Dr. Nihal Agar as the first organisational representative of the IACF. The other representatives listed are Mr. Balesh Dhankhar and Mr. Ramyavaran Ramaswamy. By the way, Mr Balesh Dhankhar has spelt his surname variously in different platforms. In Twitter, his surname is Dhankar, not Dhankhar. The IST wonders why would this be the case.  To clarify the matter more,  it should be pointed out that Dr Nihal Agar held the Hindu Council of Australia (HCA) President position for about 9 years and continues to be a director of HCA. He is also a founding member of OFBJP Australia. He has recently been made the chief of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) in Sydney by Mr Ramyavaran Ramaswamy, who has been running HSS for years. HSS is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) overseas branch. Balesh Dhankhar (also called Dhankar) is the President of Overseas Friends of BJP  Australia (OFBJP Australia) since its inception in 2013. Mr Dhankhar was briefly the Joint Secretary of HCA during Dr Agar’s tenure as HCA President. OFBJP Australia is a branch of India’s ruling party, BJP.

Community members say that Dr. Agar, who has been awarded an OAM by the Australian Government in 2015, should  live up to this title and come out clean on the matter, before it goes further to Australian Government authorities. Since there is no financial report available and IACF leaders refuse to provide any information in this regard, community continues to wonder as to how much money was raised in the name of PM Modi, how much was spent and how much was left, and what happened to the left-over public money.  IACF was formed on the behest of Mr Ram Madhav, General Secretary of BJP, who visited Sydney prior to Mr Modi’s visit to Australia. Only people from  RSS background were given responsibility to organise the Modi Rally in Sydney. Community associations throughout Australia were forced to register with IACF, if  their members wanted tickets to attend the Modi Rally in Olympic Park in Sydney.

In the absence of any replies to The IST emails and with total silence about the details of the funds’ management, IACF leaders are creating a serious concern in the Indian Australian community and are doing a major disservice not only to the Indian Australian community, but also to the ruling party of India, BJP and the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, community members say.

Following are the links to the earlier reports:

 Is IACF an opaque or non-transparent organisation?

IACF gone or still existing?

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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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