The Centre on Thursday cancelled the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act licence of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang. The non-profit had been dealing with cases related to the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
The National Democratic Alliance government had suspended the NGO’s FCRA licence for 180 days on September 9, 2015, claiming it had violated a number of the Act’s regulations, including misuse of funds for the personal benefit of trustees. The suspension had ended on March 10.
The Home Affairs Ministry had issued a suspension notice to the NGO, in which it said Sabrang had spent 55% to 65% of foreign donations for “administrative expenses” in 2010-11 and 2011-12. According to FCRA rules, an NGO’s administrative expenses cannot overshoot 50% of the total foreign funds it receives without the ministry’s approval. The notice further said that Sabrang’s foreign funds had been transferred to various bank accounts to settle Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand’s credit card dues. Anand is also a trustee at Sabrang.
In October 2015, the NGO had filed a reply to the government notice, saying that the Centre’s reasons behind the suspension order were arbitrary, and that Sabrang could explain every donation made to it, The Economic Times reported. However, a senior official of the Home Affairs Ministry had said that the decision to cancel the FCRA licence was made on the basis of the “inadequate” reply.