Sunday, July 23, 2006

Charity workers arrested in India over group attack
Charity workers accused of severely beating a fundraiser from Barnet, after he started investigating missing funds, have been arrested in India.

The attack, which happened three years ago in Jamnagar, in Gujarat state, left father-of-two Vinoo Sachania, 50, of George Crescent, Muswell Hill, with 35 fractured bones.

Mr Sachania, who was a former member of the Indian-based charity Swadhyay Parivar, claims he was beaten up by a member of the same charity during a family ceremony. Earlier this month, organisers from the charity were arrested by Indian police in Gujarat in connection with the 2003 attack and the death of Mr Sachania's friend Pankaj Trivendi, who was also investigating the charity.

The attack caused Mr Sachania to have six metal plates inserted into his legs, and 30 screws in various other bones.

"I was hit by a baseball bat and was blinded in one eye," he said. "I was at a religious ceremony marking the anniversary of my father's death. All our friends and relatives were there. I have never had any other enemies in my life.

"Eight people came behind me and had my head. One man hit me with a baseball bat. Five other friends all former charity members were attacked at the same time."

Mr Sachania became suspicious about the charity in 2001, after it gathered millions of rupees for victims of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and then publicly claimed to have built 4,534 homes a few months later.

"It became clear that it is impossible for a company, yet alone a charity to build this many houses in just three months, as it said it had," he said. "I asked them to show me where they were.

"I started enquires of my own and found out that they had never built a single house, but they got millions of rupees to do so."

So far nine people have been arrested in connection with the attacks and murder.

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