Two days after their offices were raided by the Income Tax department, the Centre for Policy Research, non-governmental organisation Oxfam India and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation on Friday denied any wrongdoing.

The raids began on Wednesday. While the Centre for Policy Research said that the raid ended the next day, Oxfam and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation said that the department’s action went on till the early hours of Friday.

Have done nothing wrong: CPR

The Centre for Policy Research said that it has requisite sanctions and is authorised by the government as a recipient under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – which allows foreign donations.

The Centre for Policy Research describes itself as a “non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.

In the statement on Friday, Yamini Aiyar, the president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, said she is confident that the think tank has “done nothing wrong”.

“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of compliance,” Aiyar said. “...We remain committed to our mission to provide rigorous research to policy making in India.”

Disappointed by raid, says Oxfam

Oxfam India in a statement said that income tax officials raided its office in Delhi for 35 hours non-stop. It added that during this time, its team members were barred from leaving the premises, the internet was shut down and their mobile phones were confiscated.

The NGO said that tax officials took with them hundreds of pages of data pertaining to finances and programs of Oxfam India.

“While the team conducting the survey was polite and professional; the process of a survey with such sweeping powers and broad ambit resulted in disappointing Oxfam India, an organisation that has been law-abiding and community centric,” the organisation said.

Oxfam said that it complies with the country’s laws and has filed all its statutory compliances, including Income tax and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act returns.

The organisation noted that in December, the Union home ministry had refused to renew its FCRA licence, which is a legal requirement for an organisation to receive foreign funds.

“The IT survey and MHA’s refusal to renew Oxfam India’s FCRA registration will not reduce our commitment to serve the vulnerable communities in country and uphold values enshrined in the Indian Constitution,” the NGO said.

IPSMF denies wrongdoing

Meanwhile, the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation said that officials of the Income Tax department arrived at their Bengaluru office on September 7.

“They stayed till 4.30 this morning [September 9], going through the papers and records of the Foundation and asking questions,” the statement added. “The foundation’s staff were cooperative and answered all questions put to them on a wide range of matters.”

The foundation, which has granted funds to several media organisations, including The Wire, The Print and The Caravan, said that officials recorded the statements of three of its senior staff members.

Source: Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation.

“All laptops and mobile phones were taken for cloning data in them and returned last night,” the foundation said. “All staff other than the CEO [Chief Executive Officer], Sunil Rajshekhar, were allowed to go home at various stages in the evening/night of September 7, and asked to return the following morning for further questioning…The IT officials were courteous during their survey work.”

The media funding organisation said it believes that its affairs are entirely in order and denied that it has received any foreign funding at any stage of its operations.

“The foundation believes in its mission of supporting independent and public-spirited media, and intends to continue its work,” it added.

The raids

While no official statement has been made so far by the Income Tax departments regarding the raids, unidentified officials had told The New Indian Express that the authorities checked receipts of funds of the organisations received through the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.

The Digipub News India Foundation, an 11-member digital-only news association, had said that the raids were an assault on independent journalism and research. is among the founding members of the association.

“Without any clarity on allegations or evidence, Income Tax teams are being used to intimidate and harass organisations involved in public service journalism,” the digital media collective had said. “This is a brazen waste of human resources and of the efforts of government officials who have joined the service to add value to India’s administrative mechanism.”