More NGOs under scanner for alleged FCRA violation: Chidambaram

A German national who was deported on Tuesday was found to be “closely associated” with anti-nuclear protest organisations, and his conduct was inconsistent with a person who came to India as a tourist, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday.

Addressing his month-end press conference, he said Sonnteg Reiner Hermann was put on a flight to Frankfurt as there was “information to show that he was associated with semi-political and protest organisations… who were involved in [the] anti-Kudankulam stir.” The German had come to India on a tourist visa despite a look-out notice was issued against him for the activities he had indulged in during his previous visit.

Declining to give names of the four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) against which the Centre decided to file cases, Mr. Chidambaram said cases were filed after it was found prima facie that they were involved in diversion of foreign funds for purposes other than they were meant. But he did not say whether these funds were diverted for fuelling the anti-nuclear power plant agitation at Kudankulam. Further investigations would reveal where the funds had gone.

Mr. Chidambaram said the CBI was asked to register cases against two NGOs while cases against the other two were referred to the Tamil Nadu police. “There is reason to believe that funds were diverted from the purpose for which foreign funds were given. Prima facie, there is evidence to register cases.”

He said many more NGOs were still under scrutiny for their alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). “It is likely that a number of NGOs and other organisations also diverted money, all of it is under inspection and scrutiny.”

Asked about his views on nuclear power, Mr. Chidambaram said he had reiterated at a public meeting, held nearly one-and-a-half months ago, that India was facing a huge power shortage. “If India has to proceed on the path of high growth…, it will not be able to sustain such growth rate without adequate power.”

As for the safety of the Kudankulam plant, he said all nuclear plants were safe, and expert committees had pointed out that the Kudankulam plant had complied with all safety requirements.