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Home / India / CBI searches premises of Union home ministry bureaucrat

CBI searches premises of Union home ministry bureaucrat

So far, the agency’s FIR has accused 36 people of conspiring to illegally facilitate registration for, or renewal of, FCRA licences that allow NGOs to receive foreign funding
The Amnesty case recently made news when two courts rapped the CBI for preventing the rights body’s chairman Aakar Patel from leaving India.
The Amnesty case recently made news when two courts rapped the CBI for preventing the rights body’s chairman Aakar Patel from leaving India.
File photo

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 15.05.22, 02:05 AM

The CBI on Saturday searched the premises of a Union home ministry bureaucrat in connection with a case of officials allegedly taking bribes to facilitate foreign donations for NGOs in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), an agency official said.

“Agency sleuths searched the premises of an undersecretary in the home ministry. He is being questioned over his alleged involvement in the bribery scandal,” the CBI official said, declining to name the suspect.

He, however, said that it was on a complaint from this undersecretary that the CBI had in 2019 started an FCRA violation case against Amnesty International India, which alleged victimisation for speaking out against human rights violations in India.

The Amnesty case recently made news when two courts rapped the CBI for preventing the rights body’s chairman Aakar Patel from leaving India.

The home ministry spokesperson claimed ignorance about Saturday’s raid.

On Wednesday, the CBI had arrested 14 people in the bribery case. They included six officials of the home ministry’s FCRA division — one of them an assistant director — NGO representatives and middlemen. The undersecretary is the senior-most official being investigated in the case so far.

The arrests came a day after the CBI searched 40 locations in Delhi, Chennai, Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Coimbatore and allegedly recovered Rs 3.21 crore. “More arrests are likely,” a CBI official said.

So far, the agency’s FIR has accused 36 people of conspiring to illegally facilitate registration for, or renewal of, FCRA licences that allow NGOs to receive foreign funding.

Over the past half-dozen years, the Narendra Modi government has tightened the rules and procedures for NGOs to receive and use foreign funds. It has cancelled the FCRA licences of hundreds of NGOs, accusing them of violating the FCRA.

The continuing crackdown on NGOs has drawn allegations at home and abroad that the government is stifling dissent.



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