Centre recommends CBI inquiry against Harsh Mander’s NGO for alleged foreign funding violation
The investigation was reportedly recommended following directions from Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry against activist Harsh Mander’s non-governmental organisation Aman Biradari for alleged violation of foreign funding norms, The Times of India reported on Tuesday.
The agency has been asked to look into allegations that the organisation received foreign funding even though it was not registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. The law states that all NGOs that receive foreign funds have to register with the home ministry.
Aman Biradari describes itself as a “people’s campaign for a secular, peaceful, just and humane world, established after the Gujarat communal carnage of 2002”.
The investigation against the organisation was reportedly recommended following directions from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
An unidentified official told The Times of India that the home ministry’s FCRA division was scrutinising Aman Biradari as it was said to have received donations worth Rs 2 crore from foreign organisations Oxfam and Action Aid.
Previously, Mander has also been under the scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate in connection with money laundering allegations. In September 2021, the agency conducted raids at his home in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, his office in the Centre for Equity Studies at the city’s Sarvodaya Enclave locality, and Umeed, a children’s home that his organisation runs in the Mehrauli neighbourhood.
A group of over 600 eminent persons had at the time said that the raids were part of the Centre’s use of government institutions to “threaten, intimidate and silence” its critics.
In October 2020, two children’s homes that Mander is associated with were raided by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The child rights body had alleged financial irregularities in the organisations associated with Mander and claimed that children from these homes were taken to protest sites.
It had also alleged that the Centre for Equity Studies, where Mander serves as the director, had received “hefty funds” that were being used for “illicit activities like religious conversion”.