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ED Attaches Rs 1.54 Crore in Bank Accounts of a Trust Linked to Amnesty India

ED is investigating allegations that the group tried to bypass the FCRA by floating a commercial entity

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday provisionally attached Rs 1.54 crore in bank accounts of a trust linked to Amnesty India under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002, thus taking the total attachment to Rs 21.08 crore.

The ED has initiated the money laundering probe based on an FIR registered by the CBI 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 Contributions Regulatory Act (FCRA) 2010.
 
“ED has provisionally attached assets worth Rs. 1.54 crore in bank accounts of M/s. Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) under the PMLA, 2002,” ED said in a statement.
 
The federal agency is investigating allegations that the group tried to bypass the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by floating a commercial entity, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), and received foreign funding in the garb of exporting services.
 
According to ED, “Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was permitted to receive foreign funds from Amnesty International in the UK in 2011–12. This approval was, however, withdrawn due to adverse reports.” AIIPL and IAIT were formed in 2013–14 and 2012–13, respectively, to escape the FCRA route and carry out NGO activities under the guise of service export and foreign direct investment (FDI).
 
The United Kingdom’s Amnesty International sent Rs. 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the form of service exports and FDI.However, there was no documentary proof for the alleged export such as invoices and copies of the agreement submitted during the investigation. “The IAIT established an overdraft facility for Rs. 14.25 crore and kept Rs. 10 crore in fixed deposit with AIIPL,” the ED stated.
 
The ED had imposed penalties of Rs 51.72 crore on AIIPL and Rs 10 crore on its then Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Aakar Patel, in connection with a show cause notice issued under the Foreign Exchange Management Act in 2019.
 
“The overdraft facility was used by IAIT for Amnesty India’s NGO activities, including salary and administrative and operational expenses.

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As a result, the FDI received by AIIPL was being used by the IAIT, Bengaluru (Karnataka), to carry out its NGO activities, according to the ED.

The AIIPL and others committed a scheduled offence by claiming to be carrying out civil society work but receiving foreign exchange in a profit-making company, thereby misusing the FDI. The remittances received were layered into IAIT, which was a charitable trust.
 
The ED had earlier attached movable properties worth Rs 19.54 crore, and the attachment was confirmed by the PMLA authorities. The case filed in July this year under the PMLA against AIIPL is pending before the Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru. 

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Amnesty International shut down its India operation on September 29, 2020, alleging a witch-hunt by government agencies and claiming that the organisation was compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its campaign and research work.

This was the latest in the Government of India’s never-ending witch-hunt against human rights organisations based on unfounded and motivated allegations.Amnesty International India was “in full compliance with Indian and international law,” the organisation stated.

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Also Read: Enforcement Directorate Searches Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut’s Residence in Mumbai

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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