Govt plans to cancel FCRA registration of Teesta's NGOs
The government plans to cancel the registration of two NGOs of social activist Teesta Setalvad for alleged violations of Foreign Currency Regulation Act.
Sabarang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, were served the notice nearly a month ago, following an on-site inspection of records and books of accounts of the two NGOs carried out by Home Ministry officials in April this year.
"We had given them 15 days time to reply. Even after almost a month, no reply has come from the two NGOs. We will have no option but to cancel their FCRA registration soon," a Home Ministry official said.
Sources said during the probe under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), it was found that they were running a magazine ‘Communalism Combat’ as co-editors as well as printer and publisher of their company Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) and allegedly received foreign contribution.
Under FCRA, no foreign contribution shall be accepted by any correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper.
CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to the notice, more than 80 <g data-gr-id="43">per cent</g> or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid. While the entity was registered for 'Educational and Economic' purposes, it received <g data-gr-id="46">foreign</g> contribution for activities such as 'Legal Aid' which is covered under purpose 'Social'. Hence, it violated FCRA rules, they contended.
“On review of vouchers of the Association, it was found that Sabrang Trust have made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand. “This amounts to use of <g data-gr-id="41">foreign</g> contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010. Thus, the Association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010,” the Home Ministry notice said.
The Home Ministry investigation also found that Anand has taken international medical policy for visiting Lahore and debited the amount in the account of Sabrang Trust.
Further, even book purchases and travel expenses incurred by him to attend meetings with People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) were debited in Sabrang Trust allegedly in violation of Section 8(1)(a) of FCRA.
The Home Ministry’s inspection has also found that Rs 50 lakh was allegedly transferred by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which is not registered under FCRA.