Amnesty International India: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped a notice on the Amnesty International India (AII) over an alleged violation of FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act). The show-cause notice was issued under borrowing and lending regulations. Reports said that the ED is seeking clarification from the human rights watchdog over receiving of Rs 51.71 crore for rendering its activities in India.
According to reports, the notice was issued by the Adjudicating Authority of the ED. The AII has been under the scanner of the financial agency from the last several years. It had raided the global human rights organization’s offices in Bengaluru last year over FEMA violations.
Amnesty International had condemned the raid describing it an assault on civil society. Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty’s India chapter, had said that government was treating human rights organizations like a criminal enterprise.
In a statement, the AII had said that it resorted to bypass the FCRA Act following the denial of permission from the home ministry. It had said that the Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd was floated which received Rs. 36 crore.
The Bengaluru Police had also booked the global watchdog on charges of sedition after participants allegedly raised anti-India and freedom slogans for Kashmir during an event. Amnesty India had organized an event Broken Families at United Theological College on the human rights violations.
The AII has been criticizing the government and the armed forces over alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. On September 5, the watchdog launched a campaign #LetKashmirSpeak, a month after Jammu and Kashmir ‘s special status was tossed and subsequent communications blackout. Hours after launching of the campaign, the AII got ED’s notice.
Amnesty India’s full statement on ED raid in 2018:
After Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was denied the permission/registration under FCRA, 2010 by MHA, they resorted to bypass the FCRA Act by floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL). This entity has received foreign funds through commercial route to the extent of Rs. 36 crore till date. Out of the total amount of Rs. 36 crore, Rs. 10 crore was received as long term loans. This amount was immediately placed in FDs and another Indian entity, Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) had established an overdraft facility for Rs. 14.25 crore keeping the said Rs. 10 crore FD as collateral which means the receipt of FDI by trust only. The remaining Rs. 26 crore was received in two other bank accounts of AIIPL as “consultancy services”. The inwards remittances received by the AIIPL from overseas is in violation of FDI guidelines. In this background, searches are conducted at their Bengaluru office today and further investigation is in progress.