Amnesty India and its former CEO Aakar Patel penalised by ED. Here's why

Published on Jul 08, 2022 05:05 PM IST

The central probe agency had initiated probe under the FEMA on basis of allegations that Amnesty International UK had been remitting massive foreign contribution through its Indian entities through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to evade Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Former Amnesty International India  CEO Aakar Patel.
Former Amnesty International India  CEO Aakar Patel.
By | Written by Aryan Prakash

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday issued a show cause notice to Amnesty International India and its former chief executive officer (CEO) Aakar Patel over charges of violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The probe agency imposed a fine of 51.72 crore on Amnesty International while Patel has been fined 10 crore.

The central probe agency had initiated probe under the FEMA on basis of allegations that Amnesty International UK had been remitting massive foreign contribution through its Indian entities through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to evade Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

These funds were allegedly received to expand NGO activities in India despite the denial of prior registrations or permission to the organisation and Amnesty India Foundation Trust and other trusts under FCRA by the union home ministry, the ED statement said.

According to the show cause notice, between November 2013 and June 2018 remittance received by the Amnesty International India and claimed as receipt for business consultancy and PR services is nothing but borrowed from overseas contributor, thereby a clear violation of FEMA.

The ED said that on following the principal justice after receiving a detailed reply from Amnesty International India, the adjudicating authority of the probe agency held that AIIPL is involved in activities that are not relevant to their declared commercial businesses and the model has applied by them to route foreign funds in the guise of business activities to escape the FCRA scrutiny.

“All contentions and submission from AIIPL regarding the claim of the remittance towards the export of services to Amnesty International have been dismissed, in the absence of concrete evidence," the ED statement read.

Consequently, it is held that the funds that have arrived to the hands of AIIPL through inward remittances to the tune of 51.72 crore is nothing but the fund lent by Amnesty International to AIIPL to ensure its objectives in the territorial jurisdiction of India, which is not accordance with the provisions of Regulation 3 of Foreign Exchange Management (borrowing and lending in Foreign Exchange) Regulations, 2000,” the ED statement read further.

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