The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a First Information Report against non-governmental organisation Oxfam India and its office-bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

Searches were also carried out at the non-governmental organisation’s office in Delhi on Wednesday, according to PTI.

The FIR, filed on April 17, was lodged 10 days after the home ministry recommended an inquiry by the CBI against Oxfam India. The organisation is the India arm of the global non-profit organisation Oxfam International.

The case was registered based on a complaint filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs Director (Foreigners-II Division) Jeetendar Chadha.

Chadha has alleged that email communication found during an Income Tax survey showed that Oxfam India had been planning to pressurise the Indian government to renew FCRA registration through foreign governments and institutions.

Registration under the Act is mandatory for organisations to receive foreign funds.

“Oxfam India has the reach and influence to request multilateral foreign organisations to intervene on its behalf with the government of India,” Chadha alleged. “This exposed Oxfam India as a probable instrument of the foreign policy of foreign organisations/entities which have funded Oxfam India liberally over the years.”

On January 1 last year, Oxfam India was among 5,932 non-government organisations whose registrations ceased as either the NGOs did not apply for renewal or the home ministry refused to sanction their applications.

On September 7, the Income Tax carried out searches at the offices of Oxfam India, the Centre for Policy Research, and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation. Oxfam India had said that income tax officials raided its office in Delhi for 35 hours non-stop.

In Monday’s FIR, Chadha alleged that Oxfam India continued to transfer foreign contributions to other entities even after the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act 2020 came into force. The amended law prohibits such transfers.

“It appears that Oxfam India used to route funds of its foreign affiliates such as Oxfam Australia, Oxfam Great Britain etc in India to selected NGOs and at the same time exercising control over funds and projects,” he claimed. “...It also appears that Oxfam India was planning to route funds to other FCRA-registered associations or through the for-profit consultancy route.”

The government official also alleged that the non-governmental organisation received foreign contributions of about Rs 1.50 crore between 2013-’14 to 2015-’16 directly in its account, instead of the FCRA-designated bank account.

On April 7, Oxfam India had said that it is fully compliant with Indian laws and has filed all its compliances, including Foreign Contribution Regulation Act returns, in a timely manner since its inception.

It had said that it will continue to work in the public and national interest in times of growing inequality and greater need for action on poverty eradication. “Oxfam India believes this is our constitutional duty as an organisation, irrespective of obstacles and hurdles in the path,” Oxfam India had said.