Govt to court: Greenpeace broke rules for opening accounts, use of foreign funds

The government on Tuesday defended its decision to cancel the foreign contribution registration of Greenpeace India, telling the Delhi high court that the NGO had violated rules by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without telling the authorities.

  • Published 26.05.15
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New Delhi, May 26 (PTI): The government on Tuesday defended its decision to cancel the foreign contribution registration of Greenpeace India, telling the Delhi high court that the NGO had violated rules by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without telling the authorities.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in an affidavit before Justice Rajiv Shakdher, said Greenpeace had violated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by merging its foreign donations with domestic contributions.

The ministry also told the court that Greenpeace, whose accounts here have been frozen, could continue paying for its day-to-day expenses by using the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules.

All it has to do is to get the government’s permission to use up to a quarter of the funds available in the FCRA account.

In fact, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for MHA, said Greenpeace has already applied for seeking benefits under Rule 14, but has not disclosed this to the court.

He also claimed that the NGO was not using the donations for the purpose they were received.

Greenpeace told the court that the freeze on its domestic accounts had cost it at least Rs 1.25 crore in donations from people in India, during May, and stands to lose the same amount in domestic donations in June as well.

The NGO said Rule 14 of FCRR only pertained to the FCRA account and not to the domestic accounts and disputed the government's contention with respect to non-disclosure of domestic accounts.

Apart from the Centre, the court had also issued notice to and sought the replies of three banks --IDBI, ICICI and Yes Bank -- which had complied with the Home Ministry's directive to freeze the NGO's accounts.

 

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