Media outside the Amnesty International office building in Bengaluru. (Photographer: Shailendra Bhojak/ PTI)

Enforcement Directorate Searches Amnesty India’s Bengaluru Office

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted searches at two locations of human rights watchdog Amnesty International India in Bengaluru in connection with a foreign exchange contravention case.

The searches, agency officials said, were launched late afternoon under the Foreign Exchange Management Act at the two locations of the NGO in the Karnataka capital and the sleuths of the central probe agency are looking for documents and other evidences.

The searches are in connection with alleged violation of foreign direct investment norms that are linked to an earlier case of revocation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence of the NGO by the Union Home Ministry in 2010, the agency said.

After Amnesty International India Foundation Trust was denied the permission/registration under FCRA by the Ministry of Home Affairs they resorted to bypass the FCRA by floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty lnternational India Pvt Ltd.
Enforcement Directorate Statement.

“This entity has received foreign funds through commercial route to the extent of Rs 36 crore till date,” the statement said. Out of the total amount, it said, Rs 10 crore was received as long-term loans.

This amount was immediately placed in fixed deposits and another Indian entity—Indians for Amnesty International Trust—had established an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore keeping the said 10 crore as collateral, the agency noted. “The remaining Rs 26 crore was received in two other bank accounts of AIIPL as consultancy services. The inwards remittances received by the AIIPL from overseas is in violation of FDI guidelines.”

In this background, searches were conducted at Bengaluru office of the NGO and further probe is in progress, it said.

The agency, sometime back, had frozen over a dozen bank accounts of environmental NGO Greenpeace and its linked entity after it conducted searches at their premises in Bengaluru on charges of alleged forex violations after taking cognisance of the FCRA action against it.