Bloomberg Philanthropies, a US-based NGO founded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg that provides funds to various NGOs in India working on anti-tobacco projects, is the latest one to come under the scanner of the Union Home Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau, sources have said.
“We have noticed some irregularities in the use of foreign funds and the same is being taken up with the authorities,” a senior home ministry official said. Sources said that if the alleged irregularities persist, the NGO may be brought under a category where they will have to inform the home ministry every time they want to bring foreign funds into India.
In response to an email query from The Indian Express, a spokesperson for Bloomberg Philanthropies said, “We have not been formally notified about an investigation on Bloomberg Philanthropies; therefore, we do not have a comment.” Senior health ministry officials too said they did not have any idea about the NGO being under the scanner of the home ministry.
After the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, the home ministry has cancelled foreign contribution registration (FCRA) licences of more than 20,000 NGOs over alleged violations. The probe against Bloomberg started last year following allegations that the NGO is running a campaign to target the tobacco industry in India.
In a report, the Intelligence Bureau has said such lobbying against the tobacco industry impacts the lives of 35 million people employed in this sector.
Home Ministry officials, however, said that the probe against Bloomberg was one of the grounds to reject renewal of licence of a Bangalore-based NGO that was reportedly receiving huge grants from them.