The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday attached Amnesty International's bank accounts and properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in connection with the FRCA violations that were spotted by the Government earlier last year. As per the Provisional Attachment Order, the ED has attached movable properties worth Rs 17.66 Crores as being 'proceeds of crime.'
In September 2020, Amnesty International announced that it was withdrawing its operations in India alleging that the government's move of freezing their accounts had brought their organization to a "grinding halt." "The complete freezing of Amnesty International India's bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt," said Amnesty in a statement.
The Centre, however, alleged that Amnesty International had never registered under the FCRA, which is mandatory for any NGO or organization to receive foreign contributions and funding. The Act also has the power to prohibit acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for activities which can be "detrimental to the national interest."
As per the ED, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) had been granted permission under the FCRA, 2010 to receive foreign contribution from Amnesty International UK in 2011-12. However, it was canceled on the basis of the 'adverse inputs' received. Later, it was revealed that Amnesty International India Foundation Trust continued to receive money from abroad despite the cancellation of its FCRA License, by adopting new methods to receive money in the guise of Export of Services and Foreign Direct Investment.
The investigation agency said that it is prima facie established that Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd. and others obtained foreign remittances to the tune of Rs. 51.72 Crores in the guise Export of services and Foreign Direct Investments from Amnesty International (UK).
Meanwhile, the organization has been unable to establish the money that they had received to do certain 'studies' post the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-east Delhi riots. In 2020, a case had also been registered against former Amnesty India Chief Aakar Patel for posting offensive content on social media, which allegedly sought to instigate a section of people against the government. Patel had urged the Muslim community, women, and SC/ STs in India to protest in a similar manner as to that of the Black Lives Matter protest forcing the 'world to notice'.