On Friday, Razorpay, the payment gateway used by Alt News to receive donations, said only domestic payments were enabled for the fact-checking website and foreign transactions were not allowed without FCRA approval.
Delhi Police had last week told a Delhi court that they were investigating alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by Alt News in their probe against co-founder Mohammed Zubair.
In a statement posted on his Twitter handle, Razorpay co-founder and CEO Harshil Mathur said the payment gateway had shared with investigating authorities “only specific data” within the scope of the investigation.
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)
The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 is an act of the Parliament of India, by the 42nd Act of 2010. It is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
A number of NGOs receiving foreign funding are seen by the India's central government as involved in anti-development activism and hence posing a negative impact on the economic growth by two to three per cent.
An Intelligence Bureau report titled 'Impact of NGOs on Development,’ claims the NGOs and their international donors are also planning to target many fresh economic development projects.
Razorpay lands in hot water
Shortly after Zubair's arrest, under Section 153A and Section 295A of the IPC, Razorpay found itself in the eye of the storm.
Additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava appearing for the state submitted to the court that Zubair “accepted payments through RazorPay from Pakistan, Syria, Australia, Singapore, UAE, which all require further investigation”.
On July 4, Alt News said its payments gateway Razorpay had shared its donor data with the Delhi Police without informing it, company CEO and co-founder Harshil Mathur on Friday issued a statement explaining their position on the matter.
On July 5, Alt News released a second statement alleging that Razorpay had shared all of their donor data with police. This sparked outrage, leaving many Indians, whose donations would not come under the FCRA scanner, upset that their privacy had been violated and perhaps viewed as mere collateral damage in the probe into Alt News.
Razorpay said it responded to a ‘written order from legal authorities’ under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and was mandated to do so.