The Ministry of Home Affairs has suspended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence of the Centre for Policy Research for 180 days, the Delhi-based think tank said on Wednesday.

Founded in 1973, 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”.

Registration under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, or FCRA, is mandatory to receive foreign funds. Its suspension makes the think tank ineligible to get fresh donations from abroad or use the existing foreign donations without the home ministry’s clearance.

The development came after the Centre for Policy Research, along with the non-governmental organisation Oxfam India and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation in Bengaluru, were raided by the Income Tax department in September.

In the recent past, non-profit organisations have alleged that the Modi government was using the FCRA law to target them. The government had rejected Oxfam India’s application for renewal of its foreign funding licence in December 2021, after which the organisation told the Delhi High Court that it was declined in a “non-speaking/unreasoned cryptic” manner.

On Wednesday, an unidentified official told the Hindustan Times that the action against the Centre for Policy Research was taken based on the findings submitted by the Income Tax department.

“The suspension was ordered on Monday based on prime facie evidence that certain provisions of FCRA were not followed,” the official claimed. “After suspension, a thorough investigation will take place and further decision will be [accordingly] taken.”

However, the Centre for Policy Research in a statement said that it is completely in compliance with the law and has been routinely scrutinised and audited by government authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

“We have annual statutory audits, and all our annual audited balance sheets are in the public domain,” the association said. “There is no question of having undertaken any activity that is beyond our objects of association and compliance mandated by law.”

The think tank also said that it will further explore its recourse in light of the Centre’s order.

“Our work and institutional purpose is to advance our constitutional goals and protect constitutional guarantees,” it added. “We are absolutely confident that the matter will be resolved speedily, in fairness and in the spirit of our constitutional values.”

Officials told PTI that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, the World Resources Institute and the Duke University were among the donors of the non-profit.

In December, the Centre had informed Parliament that it has cancelled the foreign funding license of 6,677 non-governmental organisations between 2017 to 2021.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the government will take strict action against non-governmental organisations that seek to use foreign funding to change the country’s demography.