The Enforcement Directorate’s findings in its probe against the Amnesty International India Private Limited (AIIPL) and related entities have been made part of the case registered by the CBI alleging violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
The Union Home Ministry had first raised the issue with the RBI on May 23, 2018. Subsequently, through the Department of Revenue, the ED was asked to initiate an inquiry under the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The ED carried out searches on the AIIPL’s Bengaluru premises in October last year and shared its initial findings with the MHA on December 20, 2018. The Ministry had already initiated the process for inspecting the company’s accounts.
The agency said the company, earlier known as Social Sector Research Consultancy and Support Services India Private Limited, had entered into 45 contracts with the Amnesty International-UK. Till last year, the ED alleges, it had received over ₹51 crore, claimed as export proceeds and advances for export of services to the Amnesty International-UK.
However, as alleged, the company failed to furnish any documentary proof of the services so rendered to the authorised bank.
The funds were allegedly used for purposes and issues like website maintenance, mobile technology for human rights, Kashmir-related activities, justice for 1984-Sikh massacre, corporate accountability, raising voice for the rights of Adivasis in coal areas, women-related issues like sexual violence, migrant rights and spreading public awareness on human rights.
It was alleged that the company, in violation of the FCRA rules, was misusing the foreign funds for NGO-related activities.
In the FIR, the CBI has named AIIPL, Indians for Amnesty International Trust Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation.
In a statement, after the CBI conducted searches last week, the Amnesty International India had 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.” It said the Amnesty India stood in full compliance with the Indian and international laws.