Watch Video:Govt unleashes I-T dept: Raids at offices of Centre for Policy Research, Oxfam, media-funding body

According to law, all NGOs receiving foreign funds have to be registered under the FCRA. The government has cancelled FCRA registration of nearly 1,900 NGOs for violating various provisions of law in the last five years

FPJ BureauUpdated: Saturday, September 10, 2022, 07:33 PM IST

New Delhi/Bengaluru: The Income Tax department on Wednesday fanned out across the country, conducting searches at the offices of several non-government organisations.

In Delhi, the Centre for Policy Research, a premier think tank, and charity organisation Oxfam India were searched. In Bengaluru, Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF), which financially supports a handful of digital media outlets like The Caravan, The Print and Swarajya, was searched.

These media organisations are known for their investigative stories that question the governments of the day.

The board of trustees of IPSMF include actor Amol Palekar, senior journalist TN Ninan, and CEO of Pratham Education Foundation Dr Rukmini Banerji. Some of its donors are foundations of Azim Premji, Pirosha Godrej, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Rohinton and Anu Aga.

The department visited the premises of these organisations around noon and inspected the book of accounts and financial transactions as part of the probe related to alleged contravention of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

The office staff and main directors and office bearers were questioned, too, the sources said. They said the department is looking at the balance sheets of these organisations vis-a-vis the receipt of funds via the FCRA.

The searches are connected to parallel action in Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among other places, “over funding of more than 20 registered but non-recognised political parties”.

A few other sources said the action is part of a probe over foreign donations. No official statement was made by the organisations until the time of going to press.

The Centre for Policy Research, where the searches began earlier on Wednesday, critically examines government policy. It was earlier headed by academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent critic of the current BJP government. The think tank’s governing board is currently chaired by Meenakshi Gopinath, a former professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and ex-principal of Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi.

Oxfam India, meanwhile, is part of the Oxfam umbrella of global NGOs.

According to law, all NGOs receiving foreign funds have to be registered under the FCRA. The government has cancelled FCRA registration of nearly 1,900 NGOs for violating various provisions of law in the last five years.

There were 22,762 FCRA-registered organisations till December-end 2021.

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