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Talwar’s NGO to be probed for breach

The Home Ministry has sent a notice to an NGO linked to corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar asking why its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration should not be cancelled. The NGO, Advantage India, has 15 days to respond.

Mr. Talwar’s properties were raided by the Income Tax Department last year for various financial irregularities. He is also under the scanner for meeting former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha more than 50 times at his residence in 2014.

Advantage India is being probed by the Home Ministry for violating various FCRA norms for misusing foreign donations from two defence and aviation firms — MBDA and Airbus. The NGO’s records were inspected on February 21, following which the show-cause notice was issued on Monday.

The notice also says the NGO flouted several provisions of the FCRA, including “false statements, false accounts, claimed bogus expenses, furnished concocted vouchers, purchased three luxury cars over ₹84 lakh, payment made by NGO for foreign visits of Mr. Talwar, funds used for making payment related to business activities of the founder of the Trust.”

Mr Talwar did not respond when contacted by The Hindu. A media report on September 1, 2016, quoting Mr. Talwar, had said the “NGO had been set up by him around 17 years ago but that he was not involved in its day-to-day functioning any more.”

At the time of its registration in 1999, Mr. Talwar was one of the members of the NGO’s Board of Directors. However, the Home Ministry notice says that in 2015 he transferred the Directorship to his wife, Deepa Talwar, “but didn’t intimate the Ministry about the change in violation of Rule 17A of the FCRA.”

The Ministry also said the “NGO is not doing any charitable activity and mis-utilised foreign contribution for personal gains/business purposes in violation of Section 12 (4)(vi) of FCRA.”

In 2012-13, the NGO did not file annual returns for receiving ₹20.9 crore from Airbus SAS, and ₹13.7 crore from MBDA International, a U.K.-based missile manufacturer, in violation of Rule 17 of FCRR, 2011.

The NGO also received ₹45 crore from Airbus, SAS in its non-FCRA account in violation of Section 17 of FCRA, 2010.

The NGO purchased medicines worth over ₹26 crore from two pharmaceutical companies — Astha Pharma and Hind Pharma.

“On analysis, the Income Tax Department found that the amount received from Advantage India was, in turn, being transferred to 30 other accounts. The accounts were merely rotating the amount among each other and most of them had a common registered addresses. It is concluded that the association furnished concocted and fabricated vouchers in violation of Sections 8, 18, 19 and 33 of FCRA, 2010,” the notice said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:23:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/talwars-ngo-to-be-probed-for-breach/article18468810.ece

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