Amid Amnesty group crying foul over being showcaused and asked to pay a fine over alleged FEMA violations by calling them a part of the 'witch-hunt of the Government of India', Republic TV has accessed complete investigation files of the case.
In the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), it has been made clear that the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was granted permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 during 2011-12 for receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK. However, the same was cancelled on the basis of the 'adverse inputs' received from security agencies, and thereafter, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Indians Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) were formed in the year 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively, purportedly to receive money from abroad, wherein Amnesty International, UK sent crores in the guise of export of services and Foreign Direct Investment.
As per ED, both AIIPL and IAIT were located in the same premises and are interrelated to each other in their function. From 15-07-2013 till 12-11-2014, the IAIT was having full control of AIIPL, with common functionaries through most of the period since inception of these two entities. As an example, the Central agency put forth the case of Aakar Patel who was director of AIIPL and also the Trustee of IAIT from 2015 to 2019.
While the IAIT is allegedly carrying on these activities on a smaller scale by raising funds domestically, AIIPL is purportedly carrying out the said activities on a bigger scale by receiving funds from Amnesty International, UK. These funds totaling to approximately Rs 51 crore have been claimed to be received by M/s AIIPL as export proceeds/advances for the export of services to Amnesty International UK. However, there is no documentary proof- invoices or agreement-of the same.
In the investigation files there is also a mention of 'Compulsory Convertible Debentures', which are to be converted into shares in the year 2025. The agency claims that the conversion will provide full control to Amnesty International (UK) in Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL).
This will result in a foreign entity having full control over an Indian entity which is currently funded by them and involved in activities which is detrimental to the national interest, it said.
The ED has also listed projects, which prima facie look as though they were carried out for commercial gains. Among the listed 47 projects for which AIIPL has been funded by Amnesty International Limited, UK was Kashmir 'Access for Justice' (GBP 46,867- Rs 44.5 lakhs); Human Cost of Coal Research Project (USD 90,000.00- Rs 71.5 lakhs); Mobile Developing and field testing technology (CHF 80,000.00- Rs 64.8 lakhs).
"The scrutiny of the bank accounts maintained by M/s. Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd& M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT), it appeared that M/s AIIPL was misusing the funds received in the guise of FDI for other activities viz; charity, contribution to fund such trusts, which was no way connected the activities for which the FDI had been received and getting contribution from the overseas donor to expand its NGO activities under the mask of service consultancy," it is further mentioned in the chargesheet.
The Central agency launched a probe against Amnesty in October 2018 on the basis of a case registered by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against AIIPL, IAIT, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT), and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF), under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act).
ED filed a chargesheet on Sunday, July 10, a day after penalising Amnesty India and its former chief executive officer Aakar Patel for violating the foreign exchange law. "The malicious intent of the Enforcement Directorate is evident from the fact that they have yet again issued multiple press releases even before legal notices have reached Amnesty India and Aakar Patel. This is a violation of the principles of natural justice," the NGO said in a series of tweets.