The Enforcement Directorate has stopped operations of Greenpeace India Society’s 12 accounts with different banks and three current accounts of a private company pending an ongoing probe into suspected foreign exchange rule violations.
According to an ED official, searches were earlier conducted at the office premises of Direct Dialogue Initiatives India Private Limited, set up in October 2016, which is housed in the same building where Greenpeace India has its office.
‘Claims are false’
In a statement released on Thursday, the NGO said that “every rupee that goes into Greenpeace India’s environmental work is a donation made by ecologically conscious people in the country… We strongly object to attempts of defaming Greenpeace India through false claims and accusations.”
It said the accusations seemed to be part of a larger design to muzzle democratic dissent in the country.
“We do not have anything to hide and are ready to provide the government authorities with financial details as required. At the same time we will reserve the right to constitutionally challenge attempts to malign our very existence as an independent environmental organisation,” said the NGO.
The ED, however, claims it found that the company had received about ₹29 crore in the form of Foreign Direct Investment since December 2016. It had been raising funds for five entities, of which “mostly all are related to Greenpeace only.” Several Greenpeace India employees had also migrated to the company, it alleges.
The agency has sought a list of Indian donors for further investigation into source of funding for the NGO. The statement of company CEO has also been recorded by the ED under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) provisions, said the official.
The Directorate, based on the records received from the Reserve Bank of India, the Registrar of Companies and banks, suspects that the funds received via FDI were used for NGO operations allegedly in violation of rules under the FEMA.
The Centre had cancelled the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act licence of Greenpeace India in September 2015.