Govt probing NGOs including Mary Kom’s, Rajiv Gandhi Trust for misuse of foreign funds
Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, Delhi, Asianet New Charitable Trust, Kerala and Amnesty International (India) Foundation have been served standard questionnaire, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.india Updated: Mar 20, 2018 23:02 IST
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is looking into the foreign funding of 42 non-governmental organisations , including NASSCOM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of India’s software lobby group, the Mary Kom Regional Foundation, an NGO set up by the Olympic medalist turned Member of Parliament, human rights activist group Amnesty International (India) foundation, and the Bengaluru-based research organisation Centre for Internet and Society, which, last year, published a report highlighting how 135 million Aadhaar accounts were exposed by government departments.
The information was revealed by Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju while replying to a question in the Lok Sabha. The minister said the NGOs have received foreign funding and the inquiry was initiated under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
Rijiju informed the parliament that while audit and inspection had been completed in cases of 21 NGOs including Shakti Delhi-based Sustainable Energy Foundation, NASSCOM and Public Health Foundation of India, the rest had been served with a standard questionnaire. He did not provide any details on the findings.
The questionnaire, according to a senior home ministry official who asked not to be identified, has queries on the NGO’s registered bank accounts, funding sources and financial transactions.
Responding to the MHA statement, Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India said “We have not received any official communication regarding this matter. We are not registered under the FCRA. As UN human rights experts have pointed out, the FCRA violates international human rights norms and standards on freedom of association, and must be repealed.”
Sunil Abraham, the Executive Director of Centre for Internet and Society. Abraham did not offer any comments on the development. Close aides of Mary Kom said the MP was travelling and would not be able to comment immediately.Her foundation was established in 2006 to promote boxing among underprivileged youth in Manipur and other parts the Northeastern India.
Shrikant Sinha, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said: “The Ministry of Home Affairs completed a routine FCRA compliance audit for NASSCOM Foundation in January of 2018. Post the audit, the Foundation has not received any non-compliance notice from the ministry till date. NASSCOM Foundation prides itself in having completely transparent and rigorous financial processes and is happy to work with any government department or ministry and provide all data or information as and when required.”
Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), another NGO name in the audited list, works on education, training, research and policy development in the area of public health.
The home ministry official added that 5,000 FCRA registrations have been cancelled since April 1, 2017 and the decision on the 42 organisation named by Rijiju on Tuesday would be taken on the completion of the inquiry.