New Delhi: The government may ask CBI to probe alleged transfer of funds by the Ford Foundation to activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL). Official sources said SCPPL had accepted a grant of USD 2.9 lakh from the Ford Foundation despite being a private company not having clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
This donation was, therefore, a serious violation of FCRA provisions, which mandate funding from a foreign source to only those recipients who have FCRA registration, they said. The sources claimed the Home Ministry during its inspection of the company’s accounts found that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly transferred to it by Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust which also was in violation of FCRA norms.
Gujarat government had asked the Home Ministry to take action against Ford Foundation, alleging that the US-based organisation was “interfering in internal affairs” of the country and also “abetting communal disharmony” through an NGO run by social activist Teesta Setalvad.
The fund transfer from Ford Foundation, at present, has to be cleared by a nodal official in the Home Ministry. In April, the government had ordered that funds from the Ford Foundation should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from the Home Ministry.
The Gujarat government and Setalvad are embroiled in legal battles. While she has filed several cases against the state government functionaries including the then chief minister Narendra Modi in connection with the communal riots of 2002, the state police has filed a case of embezzlement of funds against her.
The Gujarat police has been probing a case of alleged embezzlement of Rs 1.51 crore against Setalvad, based on a complaint by survivors of Gulberg Society.
Setalvad, in her statement earlier, had said that Sabrang Trust had co-operated with the Home Ministry team which visited its offices.
Her anticipatory bail plea is pending before the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court rejected her pre-arrest bail plea.