Following an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate is mulling over registering a money laundering case against Amnesty International (India). The CBI registered a fresh FIR against Amnesty and its related entities on November 5. The NGO has been booked for allegedly violating FCRA norms. Sources say that the ED is going through the documents and will soon register an ECIR (FIR equivalent) against Amnesty International and its other entities. After a reference from the Department of Revenue, ED initiated its probe in August 2018 under Foreign Exchange Management Act. A report of the same has been shared with CBI and Home Secretary, MHA.
ED had sent a secret note to the MHA on 20th December 2018, detailing the findings of its investigation. It found that the company had received over Rs.51 crore till last year from the Amnesty International-United Kingdom as export proceeds/advances for the services, whose documentary proof it did not submit with the authorised dealer bank. Amnesty entered into 45 contracts with the Amnesty International-United Kingdom, involving GBP 68,35,592 and Rs.20,59,998. Six of the agreements pertained to Kashmir-related activities/access to justice, and two were linked to 1984-Sikh massacre related activities.
The CBI had registered an FIR after receiving a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and a report from Enforcement Directorate. The CBI carried out searches at four locations connected to Amnesty India's offices in Bengaluru and Delhi after filing the FIR. The investigation findings of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Enforcement Directorate are part of 80-page CBI's FIR which has been accessed by Republic TV. CBI has alleged that Amnesty India and its related entities had violated FCRA norms.
It has been alleged that four entities of Amnesty received foreign contributions amounting to Rs 36 crore (approx) from M/s Amnesty International UK through Amnesty International India Private Limited. It was also alleged that M/s Amnesty International (UK) invested Rs 10 crore (approx) as FDI in M/s Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore by subscribing to the Debentures. According to MHA, Amnesty India used commercial methods in order to illegally circumvent the provisions of FCRA that they were obliged to observe.
Sources in CBI said that the inspection of Books of Accounts of M/s Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore by MHA revealed that the company allegedly indulged in activities "that were not commensurate to the activities of a for-profit company but constituted activities that are either prohibited or regulated under FCRA."
Amnesty in a statement released earlier said, “Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty International India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India. Amnesty International India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law.”