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Non-profit organisations continue to be under the scanner of the home ministry, which has now decided to set up a Special Investigation Team to look into the issue of their foreign funds.
As a first step, the government has decided to send notices to at least 105 NGOs against whom prima facie evidence of diverting foreign funds has been found.
The home ministry, headed by Rajnath Singh, based on an Intelligence Bureau report, has begun the process of preparing notices seeking an explanation on diversion of foreign funds that “threaten India’s interests”.
An Intelligence Bureau official told rediff.com, “The home ministry would first issue notices and based on the explanation offered would set up an independent Special Investigation Team to probe the issue. If found guilty, these NGOs run the risk of having their licenses cancelled. The owners of these NGOs could also face arrest and prosecution for anti-national activities and fraud.”
“Donations are collected under the name of aiding Dalits and other oppressed sections of society. An explanation was sought from these organisations in 2012, but there has been no convincing reply. Some of the NGOs have also used the money for conversions; many of them are based in Tamil Nadu and Madurai,” the official added.
Two years ago, an explanation was sought from at least 80 NGOs about their funds and the manner in which they were used. The Intelligence Bureau had warned the United Progressive Alliance government about these bodies and in a report pertaining to Kudankulam had pointed out that NGO workers convince donors that they are working to uplift the weaker sections. The funds received are diverted to organise protests, according to the earlier IB report.
The government had clearly stated in Parliament that some NGOs were receiving funds from the United States and from Scandinavian countries. On the floor of the house, V Narayanasamy, then a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, had also said that these NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social causes such as helping the physically challenged, eradication of leprosy or for religious purposes, but were using the money for anti-nuclear protests.
Following these reports, the government had frozen the accounts of three NGOs and also referred the matter to the Tamil Nadu crime branch. “There is prima facie evidence to show that funds had been diverted,” the crime branch officials said.
There is now a proposal to freeze the accounts of these NGOs so that they are unable to withdraw funds until the investigations are over, the IB officer said. “It is necessary to prevent any more problems. Based on the replies from these organisations and the investigation a final call would be taken on whether to allow them to continue or not,” the officer concluded.
Image: Demonstrators stand in their boats in the Bay of Bengal during a protest near the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu. Photograph: Reuters
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