National

Teesta’s Trust loses FCRA registration

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Sabrang Trust, an NGO run by social activist Teesta Setalvad. The MHA issued an order, saying it cancelled the permanent registration of the NGO with immediate effect.

The Trust has spent an amount of Rs. 50 lakh for Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL), of which Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Anand are working as directors, co-editors, printers and publisher, “clearly violating the mandate of the FCRA,” it said.

Prohibited activities

“By this action, the NGO has not only unauthorisedly utilised the foreign contribution for the purposes of an unregistered entity but also that entity being a self-owned media and publication company, utilised that amount for activities totally prohibited by FCRA,” it added.

The order said the NGO had transferred an amount of Rs 2.46 lakh from its foreign contribution designated account to Sabrang Trust domestic account, thus mixing of domestic and foreign funds and violating the rules.

Sabrang Trust has made direct payments of approximately Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit cards belonging to Teesta and Anand respectively.

The Sabrang Trust has spent an amount of Rs 50 lakh for Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL), of which Ms Setalvad and Mr Anand are working as directors, co-editors, printers and publisher, “clearly violating the mandate of the FCRA,” the MHA order said.

“The NGO has not only unauthorisedly utilised the foreign contribution for the purposes of an unregistered entity but also that entity being a self-owned media and publication company, utilised that amount for activities totally prohibited by FCRA,” it added.

‘Mechanical repetition’

Teesta Setalvad has said the Home Ministry’s Thursday order, cancelling the FCRA registration of Sabrang Trust, the NGO run by her and her husband Javed Anand, “is simply a mechanical reiteration of the very same allegations made earlier, in total disregard to the detailed and reasoned explanations and arguments put forward by the Trust.”

In their earlier communications with the Home Ministry, the Trustees had responded to the alleged FCRA violations point-by-point, para-by-para, pointing out that the allegations showed a complete non-application of mind. That the cancellation order was imminent was apparent from the mere show of a personal hearing granted to Sabrang Trust on April 11, 2016. The hearing was over in less than 10 minutes," said a statement issued by Ms Setalvad.

“Sabrang Trust will actively explore all legal options to challenge the Home Ministry’s order cancelling its FCRA registration,” the statement said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:54:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Teesta%E2%80%99s-Trust-loses-FCRA-registration/article14426063.ece

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