The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 1.54 crore of a charitable trust linked to human rights organisation Amnesty India under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The central agency issued a provisional order against Indians for Amnesty International Trust in connection with a case related to alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, by the Indian arm of the global organisation. The law regulates foreign donations to non-governmental organisations.
Amnesty has denied any wrongdoing.
But in a statement on Friday, the Enforcement Directorate alleged that Indians for Amnesty International Trust along with Amnesty International India Private Limited were formed “to escape” the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act route, PTI reported.
They were involved in NGO activities with the funds sent in the guise of service export and foreign direct investment, the statement alleged.
The statement added that Amnesty International India Foundation Trust was granted permission under the FCRA for receiving funds from the Amnesty International-United Kingdom. “However, the same was cancelled and permission/registration has been denied,” it said.
But, after this, the central agency alleged, a new method was adopted by entities of Amnesty to receive money from abroad, PTI reported. “Amnesty International UK, sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL [Amnesty International India Private Limited] in the guise of export of services and foreign direct investment,” the statement said.
There was “no documentary proof” for the alleged export such as invoices and copies of the agreement, according to the statement.
The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the accused entities for allegedly receiving foreign contributions illegally.
In September 2020, Amnesty India had said it was forced to shut its operations as the Indian government had frozen its bank accounts. The group had said its “lawful fundraising model” was being portrayed as money laundering because Amnesty India had challenged the “government’s grave inactions and excesses”.
The Centre had described the allegations as unfortunate, exaggerated and “far from the truth”. Amnesty’s “glossy statements” about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power were nothing but a “ploy to divert attention” from their activities, which were in “clear contravention” of Indian laws, the government had said.