ED Probing Private Company to Amnesty International, Not NGO, Say Govt Sources
The Amnesty International office building in Bengaluru. (PTI)
They said the Enforcement Directorate, a federal probe agency to check money laundering and forex violation crimes, is investigating two entities — Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust.
- Last Updated: September 30, 2020, 15:53 IST
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New Delhi: There is no ED investigation against Amnesty International India Foundation, which on Tuesday declared halting its operations in the country, but against a private company linked to the NGO that allegedly received dubious export proceeds worth over Rs 51 crore, government sources said. They said the Enforcement Directorate, a federal probe agency to check money laundering and forex violation crimes, is investigating two entities — Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust.
Both are being probed under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and under the civil proceedings of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), they said. The agency had issued a show-cause notice to Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd last September for alleged contravention of FEMA to the tune of over Rs 51 crore.
"Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd has allegedly received export proceed of Rs 51.72 crore during financial year 2013-14 to 2018-19 from Amnesty International, UK." "Investigation proved that no services were exported and the amounts so received were in contravention to the provisions of the FEMA and PMLA," a senior officer said. The contravention has led to "freezing" of balance deposit in the bank accounts of Amnesty India International Pvt Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust, the officer said.
Sources said this freezing order was challenged by the two entities before the Karnataka High Court and the ED order was upheld by the court. "No other fund except for alleged export proceeds received from Amnesty International,UK is under investigation or freezing under the law," the officer said.
The human rights NGO on Tuesday said it was halting all its activities in India due to freezing of its accounts and claimed that it is being subjected to an "incessant witch-hunt" over unfounded and motivated allegations. "Treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises and dissenting individuals as criminals without any credible evidence is a deliberate attempt by the Enforcement Directorate and government of India to stoke a climate of fear and dismantle the critical voices in India," it said.