The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested 14 persons in connection with a case of non-governmental organisations allegedly obtaining licences to receive foreign funds illegally, The Indian Express reported.
Six government officials are among those who have been arrested. On Tuesday, the CBI had conducted the searches at 40 locations in connection with the case.
A spokesperson for the CBI said that the agency recovered nearly Rs 3.21 crore in cash, several incriminating documents, mobile phones and other items during the searches.
The agency filed a first information report in the matter on Monday based on a complaint from the home ministry. It had named 36 persons, including seven public servants. The CBI has also named representatives of NGOs and alleged middlemen in the case.
The CBI accused the government officials of granting and renewing licences to NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in exchange for bribes. In India, NGOs require a licence under the Act to receive funds from abroad.
The officials who have been arrested are Parmod Kumar Bhasin, Alok Ranjan, Raj Kumar, Mohammed Ghazanfar Ali, Mohammed Saheed Khan and Tushar Kanti Roy, PTI reported. Out of these, Bhasin, Ranjan and Ali were earlier posted with the home ministry’s FCRA division, and now hold other posts. The others are currently posted in the FCRA division.
Another accused person, Uma Shankar, has not been arrested yet. Shankar is currently posted with the National Informatics Centre.
The FIR has also named representatives of NGOs Ayries Multipurpose Social Service Society, Centre for Tribal and Rural Development Trust, Mohammad Jahangirabad Educational Trust, Christian Life Centre Ministries, Harvest India, Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India, Nayi Roshni Foundation and Omidyar.
The agency has also named hawala operators, representatives of consultancy firms, relatives and staff members of officials among the accused persons.
The others arrested in the case are Pawan Sharma, Ramanand Pareek, Robin Devadass, Ravi Shankar Ambastha, Manoj Kumar, Santosh Kumar Prasad, Amita Chandra and Vageesh, according to The Indian Express.
CBI spokesperson RC Joshi said that some public servants allegedly impersonated officers from the FCRA division and took bribes from NGOs in exchange for granting or renewing their FCRA licences. Two accused persons were caught while delivering and accepting a bribe of Rs 4 lakh on behalf of a senior accountant with the home ministry.
Joshi said that the bribe was delivered through a hawala operative and close associate of a public servant at the Avadi town in Tamil Nadu.