17 Nov 2004

Indian minister charged over vanished funds collected for Fiji Labour Party

11:20 am on 17 November 2004

The chief minister of the state of Haryana in India has been charged over the disappearance of millions of dollars, including funds purportedly collected for the Fiji Labour Party.

Radio Fiji reports that Labour Party sources have confirmed Om Prakash Chautala collected funds for the party to fight its constitution-related court cases.

The radio says the Haryana state congress has been given a 131-page charge sheet by its president showing Mr Chautala has been charged with misappropriation of funds.

The documents show that the Chautala family owned only 13-hectares of land when it came to power in 1977.

But now it is described as one of the richest families in India.

Fiji Labour Party sources are quoted as saying they are not aware of the amount of funds collected on its behalf.

The sources say Mr Chautala failed to make any remittances to the Fiji Labour Party.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has close ties to the state of Haryana and often visits it when he travels to India.