Sabrang got $2,90,000: CBI charge sheet

Finds no separate account books for foreign contribution received and spent

February 04, 2017 12:14 am | Updated February 07, 2017 07:16 pm IST - Mumbai:

The CBI charge sheet against social activist Teesta Setalvad and husband Javed Anand states M/s Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited received foreign contribution of $2,90,000 in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, (FCRA) 1976.

The two were chargesheeted by the CBI last month and granted bail by the Esplanade court on Friday on paying of ₹20,000. A copy of the chargesheet was given to the two on Friday. The Hindu is in possession of the synopsis of the charge sheet that says the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, foreigners division, registered a written complaint dated June 26, 2015 against M/s Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd against Mr. Anand, Ms. Setalvad, Peshimam Gulam Mohammed and some others.

Violation of Sec. 11

The charge sheet says that the publishing house is a private limited company engaged in publications that is not entrusted to receive foreign contributions in any circumstances. “They have done so and are therefore in violation of Section 11 (no person having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme shall accept foreign contribution unless such person obtains a certificate of registration from the Central Government) of FCRA, 2010.”

It goes on to say, “the publishing house does not maintain exclusive books of accounts in respect of foreign contribution received and utilised which is in violation of FCRA.”

It further says that the “The project modules submitted to the Foreign Donor mention that Sabrang, as part of its public campaign, would lobby with government in the public sphere to deepen and broaden the concept of minority/minorities. It is stated that lobbying with political parties is not allowed as per provision of FCRA, 2010.”

It says two of its directors write columns and articles regularly. The company had received foreign contribution of $290,000 in violation of section 4 (1) (b) (no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper,) of the FCRA, 1976 and have failed to produce exclusive books of accounts in respect of the contribution.

The investigation reveals that the then program officer of Ford Foundation had received the first proposal on March 23, 2004 from Sabrang Communications for receipt of a grant from the Ford Foundation. The email between her and Javed Anand showes Ford Foundation treated the amount as a grant. To receive the amount, Mr Anand signed an affidavit and ticked Education, and in explanation mentioned that “Sabrang Communication is not an education institution, but its objects are educational in nature.”

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