Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Home ministry scraps FCRA licence of NGO
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has cancelled the licence given under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, or FCRA, to Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti, an NGO that ran the government-owned children’s shelter in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur where the sexual abuse of female inmates came to light last year.
The FCRA enables an organisation to receive funding from abroad. The NGO’s operating registration has already cancelled by the Bihar government in April last year.
An official familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity the FCRA licence of Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti, which was run by Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case, has been under probe since last year. The reason cited by the ministry for its cancellation was the organisation’s failure to submit annual income and expenditure statements on foreign funding for up to six years.
Sexual exploitation of girls at the shelter home was first exposed in the report of a social audit conducted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, which was submitted to the Bihar social welfare department in April last year. on the case was registered on May 31, 2018. On July 26, 2018, the Bihar government recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the matter.
As per FCRA guidelines, registered associations are required to submit electronically an annual report with scanned copies of income and expenditure statements for every financial year within nine months of the closure of the financial year. Associations that do not receive foreign contribution during a particular year are also required to furnish a ‘NIL’ return for that year within the aforesaid period, read the guidelines.
The MHA officer said, “Sewa Sankalp is among 1,808 NGOs whose FCRA licences have been cancelled this year. This technically is a formality because its operating registration had been already cancelled by the state.”