Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court had delivered a verdict on the legality of the PM CARES, saying it did not pronounce a judgement on the fund's transparency, disclosure and management practices. His comments come a day after the apex court had refused to direct the Centre to transfer the contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for battling the COVID-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund, saying both were entirely different funds with separate object and purpose.
"Supreme Court has delivered a judgement on the legality and legal accountability of PM-CARES FUND," Chidambaram tweeted. He said the judgement was final but would be contested for a long time in academic circles. "There are other aspects of PM-CARES FUND on which the Supreme Court had no occasion to pronounce judgement. These are transparency, disclosure and management practices concerning the Fund," the former Union minister said in a series of tweets.
"Who are the donors who gave Rs 3076 crore in the first five days in March 2020? Do they include Chinese firms?" he asked. "What is the amount received since April 1, 2020 and who are the donors?" The Congress leader sought to know the procedure to allocate money from the fund to various coronavirus-mitigating activities, raising several questions over its operation.
"Who are the recipients of money from the Fund since its inception? Are utilisation certificates (UC) demanded and received from the recipients?" he asked. Chidambaram wondered who would answer these "vital questions" if the fund was beyond the ambit of the Right to Information.