New Delhi: The CBI has arrested 14 people and recovered Rs 3.21 crore cash during its searches at 40 locations against NGOs and Union Home Ministry officials over alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violations, PTI reported. The searches were conducted by the CBI on Tuesday.
A case was registered on May 10 against 36 people, including seven officials of the Home Ministry’s FCRA division and NIC, middlemen, and NGO representatives following a complaint from the ministry.
The Home Ministry lodged the complaint with CBI after it found that three networks, working closely with government officials, were charging “speed money” and “problems resolution fees” to expedite the FCRA clearance to NGOs so that they can get foreign donations, PTI reported.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to the CBI on March 29, said at least three FCRA clearance networks were working in close collaboration with some government officials.
“It was alleged that some officials of FCRA Division in conspiracy with the promoters/ representatives of different NGOs, middlemen, were indulging in corrupt activities for getting backdoor FCRA registration/ renewal to NGOs illegally with an object to continue receiving donations despite not fulfilling the prescribed norms,” PTI quoted CBI spokesperson RC Joshi as saying.
When the issue was brought to the notice of Home Minister Amit Shah, he had directed that strongest action should be taken against those involved.
Joshi said some public servants were allegedly impersonating officers posted in the FCRA division and were taking bribes from NGOs for facilitating their registration and renewal of registration under FCRA. He said two accused were caught while delivering and accepting the bribe amount of Rs 4 lakh on behalf of a senior accountant of MHA.
Those booked include officials Parmod Kumar Bhasin, Alok Ranjan, Raj Kumar, Md. Ghazanfar Ali, Uma Shankar and Tushar Kanti Roy, PTI reported.
Representatives of Ayries Multipurpose Social Service Society, Centre for Tribal and Rural Development Trust, Mohammad Jahangirabad Educational Trust, Christian Life Centre Ministries, Harvest India, Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India, Nayi Roshni Foundation and Omidyar have also been booked.
In addition, hawala operators, middlemen, executives and representatives of consultancy firms, relatives and staff of officials have also been named as accused in the FIR, officials told PTI.
(With PTI inputs)