CBI searches Amnesty’s Bengaluru, Delhi premises

A view of Amnesty Interanational India building in Indiranagar, Bangalore, where ED conducted a raid

A view of Amnesty Interanational India building in Indiranagar, Bangalore, where ED conducted a raid   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

The CBI on Friday searched the premises of the Amnesty International India Private Limited (AIIPL) and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) in Bengaluru and Delhi, in connection with alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

“The searches at three locations in Bengaluru and one in Delhi were carried out on the basis of an FIR registered on November 5, following a complaint from the Union Home Ministry alleging FCRA violation involving Rs.36 crore,” said a CBI official.

Among those named are the AIIPL, the IAIT, the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT), and the Amnesty International South Asia Foundation.

As alleged, the entities violated FCRA rules and the Indian Penal Code in receiving funds from Amnesty International-UK through AIIPL, even though the prior registration or permissions were denied to AIIFT and other Trusts.

In a statement, the Amnesty International India said: “Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India.”

Amnesty India said it stood in full compliance with the Indian and international laws. “Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent,” it said.

As part of the Nobel Prize-winning movement, it said, Amnesty India held itself to the highest evidentiary standards.

The CBI's move came months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) served a show-cause notice on the AIIPL for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act involving Rs.51.72 crore.

The ED action started on a reference from the Department of Revenue. The agency searched the organisation's Bengaluru premises last year.

It was alleged that Amnesty International-UK and some other entities based in the UK were sending funds to Amnesty India allegedly via commercial channels, in violation of the rules.

Amnesty India received the funds in question for three purposes: service contract, advance income and FDI through automatic route. 

Of the total amount, Rs.10 crore was received as FDI and the rest as payment for consultancy services. Amnesty International-UK invested Rs.10 crore in the AIIPL in September 2015. The amount was kept in fixed deposit, based on which the Trust got an overdraft for Rs.14.25 crore. The funds so raised were used for NGO activities, as alleged.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 11:32:25 PM |

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