CBI to probe foreign funds to Teesta-linked firm
In a parallel move, government froze the bank account of the firm located in Juhu, Mumbai, as the Home Ministry claimed that the firm was not authorised to receive funds from abroad as it was not registered under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
SCPPL had received <g data-gr-id="47">foreign</g> donation of USD 2,90,000 and Rs 1.30 crore in “contravention” of FCRA and without getting clearance of the Home Ministry, said the Ministry’s letter to CBI said while ordering a probe.
According to rules, a private firm can accept donations from overseas only if it is registered under FCRA.
The Ministry also asked IDBI Bank to freeze an account of the firm and not to allow further credit and withdrawal of foreign contribution without its permission, it said.
A number of violations of rules and discrepancies were noticed by Home Ministry officials who had conducted an inspection between June 8-10 of the accounts and records of the firm for the period 2006-07 to 2014-15 at its Mumbai office.
Efforts to contact Setalvad for her comments failed. She did not reply to SMS sent to her mobile. However, earlier she had said in a statement that Sabrang Trust had co-operated with the ministry’s inspection team. .
SCPPL was not permitted to receive foreign contribution under any circumstances. It had also not applied for “prior permission” before accepting the foreign grant, the letter said.
“As per project module submitted by the foreign donor, it is mentioned that Sabrang as part of its public campaign would lobby with government in the public sphere to deepen and broaden the concept of minority or minorities. It is stated that lobbying with political parties is not allowed as per provision of FCRA, 2010,” the ministry said quoting the findings of the inspection.
The firm also mixed its foreign contribution with their domestic donation in “violation” of the Act. It also did not maintain <g data-gr-id="40">exclusive</g> bank account for receipt of <g data-gr-id="41">foreign</g> fund, the letter said.
The inspection findings cited an agreement between the firm and Ford Foundation which restricted the use of funds for “charitable, scientific literacy or educational purpose” but the firm could not be treated as grant provided for the purpose of rendering any service, it said.
SCPPL is also prohibited to receive <g data-gr-id="48">foreign</g> fund as it is publishing monthly periodicals and two of its directors have been writing columns and articles in newspapers, it said.
CBI has been asked to conduct an investigation into the matter “considering the gravity and complexity of the case”.
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