Senior Home Ministry officials said the bank accounts of the NGOs had been frozen.

In a blow to the voluntary sector, the Union government has ordered registration of cases against four non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whom it suspects to be behind the growing agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power project.

“While the Central Bureau of Investigation has registered cases against two NGOs, the State [Tamil Nadu] police have filed cases against two others for violation of provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA),” Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told journalists here on Tuesday.

Later in the night, the CBI confirmed that it had received a reference from the Home Ministry for investigation into the two NGOs of Tamil Nadu for the alleged FCRA violations.

Its spokesperson said the agency was writing to the State government for its consent for beginning the probe. Incidentally, the Ministry's reference has not made any connection of the two NGOs with the anti-nuclear agitation at Kudankulam.

The crackdown comes within days of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying, in an interview to the Science magazine, that NGOs had been funding agitations against nuclear power plants in the country. They were allegedly diverting foreign funds to this end.

Senior Home Ministry officials said the NGOs were asked to show cause and their bank accounts were frozen as these were ostensibly used for diverting money for funding agitations. It was found that the NGOs hurriedly “manufactured” receipts to show utilisation of lump-sum payments originally meant for charity.

Denying the allegation that the NGO he runs had received funds from the U.S. and Scandinavian nations, S.P. Udayakumar, convener, People's Movement against Nuclear Energy, has said he will file a defamation suit against the Prime Minister for alleging that foreign funds were used to organise protests against the Kudankulam project.

The officials said a German national, who was picked up by the Tamil Nadu police at Nagercoil for allegedly assisting the anti-nuclear plant protesters, was deported earlier on Tuesday.

Sonnteg Reiner Hermann, 49, against whom the Home Ministry had issued a “look-out notice,” was detained by the police monitoring the protests.

Arriving in India on a tourist visa, he had been helping the protesters in violation of the visa rules. “He had no business to be in Nagercoil. He had violated all the visa rules, and hence we have deported him,” a senior official said.

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