The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Tuesday said that it has provisionally attached movable properties worth Rs. 17.66 crores of NGO Amnesty International.
The move comes months after the NGO announced the closure of its operations in India following the freezing of its bank accounts by the ED as part of a probe into a 2018 case.
“The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt,” Amnesty International India had said in a statement in Septemeber 2020.
The NGO had called the freezing of its accounts “akin to freezing dissent” and said the action was “the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations”, leaving them unable to carry on with campaign and research work in India.
Amnesty had told The Indian Express over email that they would approach the Karnataka High Court.
Responding to Amnesty’s claim, the Union Home Minister had said that the NGOs claims of “witch hunt” were “far from the truth”.
The Ministry said Amnesty had been given permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once, in 2000, and since denied the same despite requests, including by the UPA government. It had accused Amnesty UK of circumventing the regulations by remitting large amounts of money to four entities registered in India, by classifying it as FDI.
In October 2018, properties of Amnesty India in Bengaluru were searched by the ED after the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust was accused of creating a commercial arm called Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) allegedly to receive foreign funding in violation of the FCRA rules.
According to ED, Amnesty International India had “received foreign funds through a commercial route to the extent of Rs 36 crore’’. Out of this, Rs 10 crore had been received as long-term loan and placed in fixed deposits while an Indian entity, Indians for Amnesty International Trust, had established an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore with the 10 crore as collateral, the ED had alleged.