CBI arrests six officials, eight others in FCRA bribery case

Arrests come after the agency conducted searches in many States.

Published - May 11, 2022 09:53 pm IST - NEW DELHI

On May 10, 2022, the CBI searched the premises of public servants and representatives of NGOs.

On May 10, 2022, the CBI searched the premises of public servants and representatives of NGOs. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested four current and two former officials of the Union Home Ministry’s Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) division, along with eight others, for allegedly facilitating illegal clearances to non-government organisations (NGOs) under the Act, in lieu of bribes.

The arrested officials have been identified as Parmod Kumar Bhasin and Alok Ranjan, formerly with the FCRA, and its current officials, Raj Kumar, Saheed Khan, Mohammed Ghazanfar Ali and Tushar Kanti Roy. Among the private persons are an NGO representative, “hawala” operators, two directors of consultancy firm Shaurya Business Solutions and a Chartered Accountant.

On Tuesday, the agency had searched the premises of public servants, representatives of NGOs, middlemen and “hawala” operators in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Manipur. It seized about ₹3.21 crore in cash.

In the case — registered on a complaint from the Union Home Ministry — the agency has named 36 persons, including seven government officials. Uma Shankar of National Informatics Centre has also been named.

Among the other accused are promoters of NGO Omidyar; S. Rajasekaran of Ganga Medical Centre and Hospital Private Limited; Chinappan Pichai Pillai of Ayries Multipurpose Social Service Society; Ramaswamy Ranganathan of Centre for Tribal & Rural Development Trust; Shafi Mohammad of Jahangirabad Educational Trust; and Mansi International Private Limited.

Alfred Mohanty of Christian Life Centre Ministries; Kathera Suresh Kumar of Harvest India; Lungawiruol Khawbung of Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India; and Bishnu Mour of Nayi Roshni Foundation have also been named.

It is alleged that the public servants conspired with the promoters or representatives of various NGOs and middlemen to illegally facilitate FCRA registration or renewal, apart from other related works. The two former FCRA officials impersonated as unit employees and received bribes from the NGOs in question.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), Home Ministry official Parmod Kumar Bhasin, who was earlier posted with the FCRA unit, approached representatives of several NGOs for bribes, which he received through the “hawala” channel. He had roped in one Anish Selvaraj for contacting the prospective Tamil Nadu-based organisations.

Another official, Alok Ranjan, allegedly conspired with co-accused Ravi Shankar Ambastha and Manoj Kumar B.A. to get bribes. They were also running Immaculate Global Consultants (IGC) and ASRA Foundation. The accused was channeling the ill-gotten money into Mansi International Private Limited being jointly managed by his wife, said the FIR.

A similar racket was allegedly being run by Santosh Kumar Prasad and his wife Arnita Chandra, both directors of Shaurya Business Solutions, in conspiracy with accused FCRA official Tushar Kanti Roy.

As alleged, one Devesh Chandra Mishra had contacted Roy to get permission for receiving foreign remittance worth ₹3 crore in donation for an NGO named Omidyar. The official initially demanded 10% of the total remittance. However, Mishra told him that the NGO promoters were ready to pay ₹5 lakh. The official then asked for at least 7% of the foreign donation.

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