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Alleged FCRA Violation by Amnesty: CBI Names 8 Entities in Supplementary Charge Sheet

The agency filed the charge sheet nearly 23 months after the first report against Amnesty International India and Aakar Patel, on January 7, 2022, in a special court.
Aakar Patel, chair of the Board of Amnesty International.

Aakar Patel, chair of the Board of Amnesty International.. Image Courtesy: Aakar Patel/Twitter

New Delhi: The CBI has filed a supplementary charge sheet in connection with its probe against Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and its then executive director Aakar Patel for alleged FCRA (Foreign Currency Regulation Act) violations in which it is understood to have given details about the role of other directors and signatories, officials said on Tuesday.

The agency filed the charge sheet nearly 23 months after the first report against Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Patel, registered on January 7, 2022, in a special court here.

In its recent supplementary report, the agency has charge-sheeted eight entities, including Patel, AIIPL, Indians For Amnesty International Trust (IAIT), the then directors of AIIPL Shobha Mathai, Nandini Anand Basappa, Minar Vasudeo Pimple, head of operations of AIIPL Mohan Premananda Mundkur and its authorised signatory Raj Kishor Kapil under Indian Penal Code section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and sections 11 (1), 35 and 39 (2) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

While going through the submissions of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after the first report, they said the special court had asked the agency to probe the role of other directors and file a supplementary final report.

"The prosecution is relying upon the statements of the signatories and directors of the company to prove that the accused (Patel) was in charge of the affairs of the company. The role of signatories of the contract and directors of the company have not been investigated into," the special court had noted.

In its supplementary charge sheet filed before the court last week, the officials said the agency had corroborated allegations of its FIR.

The agency alleged Amnesty International (UK) had invested Rs 10 crore in AIIPL on September 24, 2015, classified as 'Compulsory Convertible Debentures (CCD), which was shown in the balance sheet and Income Tax returns as 'Long Term Borrowings', officials said. This money was kept in fixed deposits, they said.

The agency said IAIT allegedly obtained an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore based on Rs 10 crore FD as collateral. It had said that IAIT used these funds to pay for AIIPL's expenses.

The probe had started after the CBI registered an FIR against AIIPL, IAIT, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT), Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF), and others on November 5, 2019, on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The ministry had alleged that provisions of the FCRA and IPC were contravened by the FIR-named entities in receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK through AIIPL even though prior registration or permissions were denied to AIIFT and other trusts under FCRA, according to officials.

After the searches that took place post the FIR in 2019, Amnesty International India alleged that over the past year, a pattern of "harassment" has emerged every time it speaks out against "human rights violations" in India.

"Amnesty International India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent," Amnesty said in a statement.

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