The Income Tax Department on Wednesday conducted surveys on two think tanks and a charity organisation on suspicion of irregularities related to financial transactions.
In Delhi, the department carried out the operation at the offices of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in Chanakyapuri and Oxfam India in Okhla Industrial Estate. The premises of Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) was also surveyed in Bengaluru, according to an official. The agency did not clarify the reasons for the surveys.
Highlighting the difference between a “search” and a “survey”, another agency official said the former was an exhaustive exercise wherein all the locations linked to the assessee could be covered and documents, cash and valuables seized. However, a “survey” operation was limited in its scope as the agency visited the commercial premises usually during the office hours, could only impound the transaction records for scrutiny and seek clarifications from the persons concerned.
According to its website, CPR — whose chairperson is Meenakshi Gopinath and Yamini Aiyar is the president and chief executive — is a “non-profit, non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.
Oxfam India works on food, clothing, shelter and medical projects. Earlier, its renewal application under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act was refused by the Union Home Ministry on the ground that it did not fulfil the eligibility criteria as specified in the Act and the related rules. The organisation then filed an application for revision of the refusal order.
A public charitable trust registered in 2015, IPSMF provides financial assistance through grants to independent media organisations “distributing public interest information”. Some of the grantees include The Wire, The Print, The Caravan, The News Minute, Alt News, The Ken, Live Law among others. Presently, the trust is chaired by senior editor T. N. Ninan.