ED penalises Amnesty India, Aakar Patel for over Rs 61 Cr

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday penalised Amnesty International India and its former chairman Aakar Patel for Rs 51.72 crore and Rs 10 crore respectively contravention of the foreign exchange law, the ED said on Friday. They have been charged as per Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The federal agency said it initiated action against the two on the basis of information that Amnesty International, UK had been remitting “huge amount” of foreign contribution through its Indian entities (non-FCRA companies) following the FDI route, in order to evade the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to expand its NGO activities in India.

This was despite the denial of prior registration or permissions to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and other trusts under FCRA by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it said.

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The Enforcement Directorate said the show cause notice of penalty was issued as the funds received “violated” Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) provisions.

The show-cause notice claims that the funds received by Amnesty International India between November 2013 and June 2018 and reported as payment for business consulting and PR services were really borrowed from a foreign source, clearly in violation of FEMA.

According to the ED, the investigation agency determined that AIIPL is engaged in activities unrelated to their declared commercial businesses and that they have used a model to transfer foreign funds under the guise of business activities in order to avoid FCRA scrutiny. this came after receiving a thorough response from Amnesty International India, over the same.

(The story has been edited with inputs from Siasat’s News Desk.)

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