Income Tax searches at think tank CPR, Oxfam and media foundation: Reports | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Income Tax searches at think tank CPR, Oxfam and media foundation: Reports

By, New Delhi
Sep 07, 2022 11:14 PM IST

The I-T sleuths undertook the surprise action against three more organisations in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and charitable organisation domain.

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday conducted searches on the premises of NGOs, including Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and global NGO Oxfam India apart from a media foundation as part of a probe related to alleged FCRA contravention in funds received by them, news agency PTI reported.

The I-T department conducted raids and surveys in various states in separate cases related to alleged tax evasion, violation of FCRA violation and illicit funding of registered unrecognised political parties.(Representational Photo/HT)
The I-T department conducted raids and surveys in various states in separate cases related to alleged tax evasion, violation of FCRA violation and illicit funding of registered unrecognised political parties.(Representational Photo/HT)

The I-T sleuths undertook the surprise action against three more organisations in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and charitable organisation domain, the report added.

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However, there was no immediate comment from Oxfam India, Centre for Policy Research and Bengaluru-based Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) and a few others. Sources told PTI that the department was looking at the balance sheets of these organisations vis-a-vis the receipt of funds via the FCRA.

According to law, all NGOs receiving foreign funds have to be registered under the FCRA. The government has cancelled the FCRA registration of nearly 1,900 NGOs for violating various provisions of the law in the last five years. There were 22,762 FCRA-registered organisations till December-end 2021.

About funding, the CPR website says the think tank is recognised as a not-for-profit society by the government and contributions "are tax exempt". It says CPR receives grants from the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), and is a Department of Science and Technology (DST) recognised institution.

CPR says it is a member institution of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI), a programme of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The website states the think tank receives grants from a variety of domestic and international sources, including foundations, corporate philanthropy, governments, and multilateral agencies

Absolutely atrocious: Congress

Reacting to the development, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “It’s absolutely atrocious that research and advocacy organisations, and independent charitable trusts like CPR, Oxfam and IPSMF have been raided at the behest of Mr Modi and Mr Shah. It’s a deliberate move to exterminate all independent media and voices.”

I-T raids in several states

The I-T department also conducted raids and surveys in various states in separate cases related to alleged tax evasion, violation of FCRA violation and illicit funding of registered unrecognised political parties.

The department conducted search operations on the premises of serving Rajasthan’s minister of state for home and higher education Rajendra Yadav.

The raids were conducted at multiple locations including Kotputli, his assembly constituency, and business premises in Uttarakhand.

Confirming the search operation, Yadav said, “The I-T department is conducting search operations at business premises and residences in Kotputli, and also at business premises in Uttarakhand.”

The minister said, “The search operation is being conducted at eight places, which include the residence and business premises. With an open heart, we tell them to conduct the probe, it’s our ancestral business since 1950, which is taken care of by my children, and before entering politics, even I was into it.”

When asked if there is a political motive behind the action, he said it will come in front but connecting us with any kind of funding is baseless.

The coordinated operations were carried out at over 110 locations in Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and some other states against certain registered unrecognised political parties and their alleged dubious financial transactions, the PTI report added.

Some other instances of political funding through alleged illegal means are also being investigated as part of the action, they said.

The surprise action is understood to have been taken by the department on a recent recommendation of the Election Commission (EC) as part of which at least 198 entities were struck off from its list of registered unrecognised political parties after they were found non-existent during physical verification.

The poll panel had announced that it was taking action against more than 2,100 entities, categorised as registered unrecognised political parties by it, for flouting rules and election laws, including those related to filing of monetary contributions, failing to update their address and names of office bearers.

Another Congress-ruled state Chhattisgarh also came on the radar of tax sleuths with searches at multiple locations linked to some businessmen, they said.

The nature of the action being carried out by the I-T department is not yet clear, they said. Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel told reporters at the Raipur airport that he had already predicted raids by the Income Tax and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). "I had said (that raids will happen)… now ED will also follow them," Baghel said when asked about the action by the IT department. Last week, Baghel had said his "well-wishers" informed him that Chhattisgarh will soon see raids by the ED and IT because MLAs of the ruling UPA coalition from neighbouring Jharkhand were staying at a resort near Raipur.

The legislators of the JMM-Congress-RJD coalition had stayed in the resort for six days before they were flown back to Ranchi on Sunday.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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