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Foreign funding: MHA seeks EC help to probe Congress, BJP

Probe will include firms besides Vedanta subsidiaries

Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi |
April 10, 2014 1:56:32 am

The Union Home Ministry has written to the Election Commission, the Corporate Affairs and the Commerce ministries to help it come up with a concrete plan to investigate alleged foreign funding for Congress and BJP.

The Delhi High Court had asked the MHA on March 28 to take appropriate action against the two national parties for allegedly accepting foreign funds from firms like Sterlite and Sesa whose parent company Vedanta Limited is registered in the United Kingdom. The Home Ministry in an earlier reply to the Delhi HC had given a clean chit to both the outfits that they violated any provision under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which bars political parties from receiving funds from foreign sources.

“The Delhi HC has said both the companies have foreign sources and the flow of funds needs to be investigated,” said a senior ministry official, adding, the order did not mention the time-period for which the foreign donations had to be probed and the court has also asked them not only to probe the two Vedanta subsidiaries but also other such companies.

“We have now written to the EC and other two ministries to devise a mechanism on how to go about the investigations. It’s not Sterlite and Sesa we have to investigate now but lot of other companies as well,” said the official.

“We looked into the accounts of the two parties where it was alleged that 12 foreign companies had commonly donated to them. No discrepancy was found in our inquiry as the bank accounts from where the money has been remitted are in India,” said the official.

The High Court is hearing a petition filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in January 2013, where the Home Ministry was also made a party to inquire into the foreign funding of these two political parties under the Representation of People Act and FCRA.

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