The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has renewed activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO’s licence to accept foreign funding, reported The Indian Express. The organisation, Citizen for Justice and Peace, was put under the prior permission category in July. However, the renewed license does not mention it. Under that category, an NGO cannot receive funds without approval from the ministry.
The NGO was put under the PP category during an investigation into their accounts for alleged misuse of grants to survivors of 2002 Gujarat riots. The secretary of the organisation, Setalvad’s husband Javeed Anand, is the main trustee. “We have received the renewal licence for CJP and there is no mention that the trust is under PP category anymore,” Anand said.
The NGO had applied for renewal of the licence earlier this year. Unidentified ministry officials said the decision to renew the licence was taken at a higher level, unlike in the case of the NGO owned by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. Four ministry officials were suspended after Naik’s organisation got an automatic renewal.
Setalvad also owns two other NGOs – Sabrang Trust and Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Ltd – which are also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Gujarat Police. Sabrang Trust’s licence under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act was cancelled in June after the ministry found it guilty on six counts. “Sabrang Trust will explore legal options to challenge the cancellation of its FCRA licence,” Setalvad said.
Investigators have accused Setalvad of transferring Rs 50 lakh from Sabrang Trust account for “personal gains”. The activist has denied the allegations.