INDIA. Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday provisionally attached Rs 1.54 crore to the bank accounts of a trust linked to Amnesty India under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA), bringing the total attachment to Rs 21.08 crore.
The ED initiated the money laundering investigation based on a CBI registered FIR against Amnesty International India Private Limited (AIIPL) and others under Section 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 11, 35 and 39 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010.
“ED has temporarily attached assets worth Rs. 1.54 crore in M/s bank accounts. Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) under the PMLA, 2002”, ED said in a statement.
The federal agency is investigating allegations that the group attempted to circumvent the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by floating a business entity, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), and received foreign funding under cover of the export of services.
According to ED, “Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was authorized to receive foreign funding from Amnesty International UK in 2011-2012. This endorsement, however, was withdrawn due to unfavorable reports. The AIIPL and IAIT were formed in 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 respectively to escape the FCRA route and conduct NGO activities under the guise of exporting services and foreign direct investment (FDI).
UK’s Amnesty International sent Rs. 51.72 crores to AIIPL in the form of service exports and FDI. “IAIT established an overdraft facility for Rs. 14.25 crore and kept Rs. 10 crore in fixed deposit with AIIPL,” Ed said.
The ED had imposed penalties of Rs 51.72 crore on AIIPL and Rs 10 crore on its then CEO, Aakar Patel, as part of a show cause notice issued under the Dispute Management Act. changes in 2019.
“The overdraft facility has been used by IAIT for Amnesty India NGO activities, including salaries and administrative and operational expenses.
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As a result, FDI received by AIIPL was used by IAIT, Bengaluru (Karnataka), to carry out its NGO activities, according to the ED.
AIIPL and others have committed a prescribed offense by pretending to perform civil society work but receiving foreign exchange in a for-profit business, thereby misusing FDI. The remittances received were deposited in IAIT, which was a charitable trust.
The ED had previously attached movable property worth Rs 19.54 crore, and the attachment was confirmed by PMLA authorities. The case filed in July this year under the PMLA against the AIIPL is pending before the Chief Civil Judge and City Sessions of Bengaluru.
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Amnesty International ended its operations in India on September 29, 2020, alleging a witch hunt by government agencies and saying the organization was forced to lay off staff in India and suspend all campaigning and research work .
This was the latest in the Indian government’s endless witch hunt against human rights organizations based on unsubstantiated and substantiated allegations. Amnesty International India has been “in full compliance with Indian and international law”, the organization said.
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