After the Central Bureau of Investigation carried out searches at four locations of human rights group Amnesty India's offices in Bengaluru and Delhi yesterday (15 November), the agency has alleged the NGO received foreign contributions to the tune of Rs 36 crore from Amnesty International United Kingdom through the Amnesty International India Private Limited (AIIPL).
A senior CBI source related to the development told IANS, "Indians For Amnesty International Trust (IAIT), Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT), Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF) received foreign contributions amounting to Rs 36 crore from Amnesty International U.K. through Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd."
The source said Amnesty India used commercial methods in order to illegally circumvent the provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that they were obliged to observe.
The source said the Ministry of Home Affairs in its order had said that in order to evade FCRA, Amnesty (UK) remitted Rs 10 crore to Amnesty's India entities classified as FDI, without its approval.
He also said that another Rs 26 crore was remitted to Amnesty (India) primarily from UK-based entities without MHA's approval.
He said, Amnesty (India) received funds for three purposes -- service contract, advance income and FDI through automatic route which are mainly used by commercial entities.
"Of the total Rs 36 crore of foreign funds received, Rs 10 crore was remitted as FDI, Rs 26 crore as payment for consultancy services of which Rs 3.5 crore was shown as advance income in 2016-17. Amnesty International (U.K.) invested Rs 10 crore in Amnesty International India on September 24, 2015 and this was classified as compulsory convertible debentures (CCD) and shown in balance sheet and IT returns as long term borrowings. This amount was immediately placed in FDs," the source said.
The disclosure by the Central probe agency comes a day after it raided the offices of Amnesty India in Delhi and Bengaluru after it filed a case of FCRA violation on the complaint of Ministry of Home Affairs.
The CBI has registered a case against the Amnesty entities and others on 5 November.
The source said during the inspection of books of accounts of Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd, Bengalurelu by the MHA revealed that the "company allegedly indulged in activities that were not commensurate with the activities of a for-profit company" but "constituted activities" that are either prohibited or regulated under FCRA.
He said, the MHA complaint also mentioned that the interim report prepared by Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Amnesty intimated that the Civil Society Work (charitable activities) are being carried out by Amnesty International (India) "on huge profit on commercial lines and he funds for these activities are obtained in the garb of remittances against export of services".
On Friday, a CBI official said it was alleged that the provision of the FCRA 2010 and Indian Penal Code were contravened by Amnesty entities by receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK through the AIIPL even though prior registration or permissions were denied to the AIIFT and other trusts under the FCRA.
The agency claims that all the funds received by the Amnesty entities were without the MHA's approval.
For its part, the NGO has claimed that it had complied with all Indian laws and that yesterday’s raid was part of a pattern of harassment.
(With inputs from IANS)
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.