Flagging worldwide NGO Amnesty’s tasks ‘Kashmir: Access to Justice’ and ‘Justice for 1984 Sikh Massacre’, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has informed a particular court docket in New Delhi that Amnesty International UK routed over Rs 51 crore to an Indian arm in violation of legal guidelines to “fund anti-national activities in the guise of export of services”.
On July 9, the ED filed a prosecution criticism (equal to a chargesheet) in opposition to Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT), and former AIIPL CEOs G Ananthapadmanabhan and Aakar Patel for alleged cash laundering.
According to the ED chargesheet, Amnesty International, to additional its actions in India, arrange Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) in 1999. In 2011-12, when the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) got here into impact, the NGO was granted prior permission by the federal government for receipt of international funds. But this was quickly revoked following “adverse inputs” by authorities companies.
The ED mentioned Amnesty International then arrange IAIT, a non-profit organisation, in 2012, and AIIPL (then often called Social Sector Research Consultancy & Support Services (India) Pvt Ltd), a for-profit industrial entity, in 2013.
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The IAIT was presupposed to be domestically-funded and perform human rights associated actions in India utilizing these funds. The AIIPL, the ED mentioned, was supposed to hold out the identical work by charging a price within the type of export of companies by way of reviews, organising campaigns and so on.
The two entities, the ED mentioned, had an identical set of workplace bearers, operated out of the identical constructing, and all through its existence, the AIIPL had only one main consumer: Amnesty International UK.
Once the 2 entities have been established, the IAIT purchased 99.8% stake in AIIPL with the remaining being held by IAIT trustees, the ED mentioned.
In 2015, Amnesty International UK invested Rs 10 crore by means of FDI into AIIPL. According to the ED, the AIIPL put Rs 9 crore in a set deposit. Against this FD, IAIT availed overdraft facility of over Rs 14 crore from a financial institution to fund its NGO actions.
Over the years, AIIPL itself received Rs 36 crore (together with Rs 10 crore FDI) from Amnesty International UK in opposition to “export of services” associated to making ready of human rights reviews on varied points, organising campaigns and a few technical companies, the ED mentioned.
This set-up, the company claimed, was nothing however a approach to circumvent FCRA and perform NGO work within the identify of economic actions. The ED has known as the complete cash obtained by AIIPL and IAIT as proceeds of crime.
Amnesty officers, nonetheless, informed ED of their statements that NGOs in lots of nations comply with the mannequin of establishing two entities – one for-profit and one other not-for-profit — to hold out their actions and this was carried out after authorized vetting.
Aakar Patel informed The Sunday Express, “It’s for the state to prove that we have been involved in any wrongdoing. I don’t know what is their idea of anti-national. I don’t know of any law that stops us from doing what we were doing. There is nothing wrong in us floating a private limited company and Amnesty investing Rs 10 crore when the transaction has gone through RBI.”
The contracts that AIIPL took up from Amnesty International throughout this era included 12 associated to ‘Technical Services’, six ‘Kashmir related activities/Access to Justice’ contracts, two ‘1984 Sikh Massacre related activities’ contracts, six ‘Corporate Accountability in Coal Sector’ contracts, three ‘Women related matters’ contracts, two contracts on ‘Issues related to Migrants rights’, eight contracts on ‘Public Awareness on Human Rights’, 4 on ‘Undertrial related issues’, and three on ‘Ready to Report’ (a marketing campaign to report circumstances of sexual abuse).
The ED has picked two tasks – ‘Justice for the 1984 Sikh Massacre’ and ‘Access to justice in J&K’ — for receiving important international funds. While the previous obtained GBP 2.5 lakh, the latter received GBP 5.95 lakh, the ED mentioned.
It alleged that by way of these tasks, AIIPL was presupposed to generate public outrage by way of media strain, public mobilisation by way of RTI, mobilisation of cadre assist to construct strain on political events, marketing campaign by way of media, TV, radio and so on., aside from making certain that the 1984 Sikh bloodbath stays a key situation within the 2017 Punjab election manifesto.
On Kashmir, the ED mentioned that aside from public marketing campaign and advocacy, one of many contracts acknowledged that “Groups like Human Rights Watch have said that courts-martial in India are highly biased and subject to corruption. The Supplier i.e. M/s AIIPL will seek to obtain details of court-martial proceedings, and analyze them to determine if they are transparent, independent, and impartial, aligned with international standards for fair trial proceedings, and constitute an effective remedy for victims of rights violations.”
The ED claimed that it appeared from the phrases of companies of the contracts that each one companies have been NGO actions for which international funding wanted an FCRA licence from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“When the FCRA License was earlier cancelled during the year 2011-12 by Govt. of India due to the adverse inputs received from Intelligence agencies, the same activities are being run in the guise of commercial activities. This is highly suspicious when national interest is concerned. The money is routed from the M/s Amnesty International United Kingdom to M/s Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd in India to fund anti-national activities in the guise of export of services, which is nothing but the supply of report if any and doing campaigning, mass gatherings etc.,” the ED acknowledged in its criticism to the court docket.
On July 9, Amnesty India rejected the allegations. In a Twitter put up, it mentioned, “We reiterate that the allegations of @dir_ed, a financial investigation agency under @FinMinIndia, that Amnesty International India was involved in ‘money laundering’, are patently untrue.”
“This violation is further reinforced by the selective leak of information to certain media channels without giving the organisation access to any such information,” it mentioned.
“Since September 2020, the bank accounts of Amnesty International India remain frozen with no means to pay full dues to ex-employees or for the services of lawyers engaged to fight the multiple court cases initiated by the Government of India,” it mentioned.