(Judicial Quest News Network)
The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested 14 accused including 06 public servants and has recovered cash of Rs.3.21 crore(approx), several incriminating documents, mobile phones etc. during searches at the premises of accused at around 40 locations including in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Manipur etc.
A case was registered on 10.05.2022 against 36 accused including 7 public servants of FCRA Division of MHA & NIC and middlemen, representatives of various NGOs on the allegations 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. It was further alleged that some public servants were impersonating themselves as officers posted in FCRA Division and were indulging in said practices & obtaining bribe from NGOs for facilitating them for their registration/ renewal of registration under FCRA and for other FCRA related works.
During investigation, two accused were caught while delivering and accepting the bribe amount of Rs.4 lakh on behalf of a Senior Accountant of MHA, New Delhi. It was alleged that the delivery of bribe was done through a hawala operator and a close associate of said public servant, at Avadi (Tamil Nadu)
The arrested accused are being produced before the Competent Court.
The arrested persons include Pramod Kumar Bhasin and Alok Ranjan, formerly with the FCRA division, and its current officials Raj Kumar, Shaheed Khan, Mohammed Ghazanfar Ali and Tushar Kanti Roy, among the private persons are an NGO representative “Hawala” operator and two directors of the consultancy firm Shaurya Business Solutions and a Chartered accountant.
On Tuesday the CBI searched the premises of public servants, representative of NGO’s middleman and “Hawala” operators in the abovementioned States.
Initially a case was registered on a complaint by the Union Home Ministry, one Umma Shanker of the National Informatics Centre have Also been arrested.
Arrested accused are from the various NGOs from different states.
It is alleged that those arrested had conspired with the promoters or representatives of various NGOs and middleman to illegally facilitate FCRA registration or renewal.
In 2020, MHA refused to renews the foreign funding licence to 446 NGOs.
In 2019-20 100 refusals were there.
In 2021,341, refusals were there and till March 2022, MHA refused 25 applications for renewal.
In Nov,2020, the Union Government had amended the FCRA Act, allowing only 20% of the foreign funds received the NGOs could be used for the administrative purpose, earlier this limit was 50%.
According to the FIR the former official of FCRA Pramod Kumar Bhasin, who was earlier posted with FCRA unit.
Whenever an NGO approached the MHA for either renewal/fresh licence