61 crore fine on former head of human rights organization ‘Amnesty’ India and International, know the whole matter

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (Enforcement Directorate) has imposed a fine of over Rs 61 crore on Amnesty India and its former chief executive officer Aakar Patel for violating the Foreign Exchange Act. On Friday, the ED gave information about this action taken on Amnesty India and its former chief.

The probe agency has imposed a fine of Rs 51.72 crore on Amnesty India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). At the same time, a fine of Rs 10 crore has been imposed on the then head of this international human rights organization. The ED said in a statement that notices have been sent to both of them regarding the fine. It has taken this step after investigating the complaint received about Amnesty India. The ED’s Special Director level FEMA officer has investigated the matter.

Action after investigation under FEMA

The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that UK-based Amnesty International sent large amounts of foreign contribution to its Indian arm Amnesty India International Private Limited (AIIPL) between November 2013 and June 2018 in the guise of business activities. It was actually a way to evade the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The agency said it had initiated the investigation under FEMA on the basis of information that UK-based Amnesty International has been remitting large amounts of foreign contributions through its Indian units through the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route. According to the complaint, Amnesty did this to finance its NGO activities in India.

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The Enforcement Directorate said that Amnesty International used the FDI route to remit foreign funds despite the Home Ministry’s “refusal” to pre-register or grant approval under FCRA to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and other trusts. “Amounts received by Amnesty India from abroad during the period from November 2013 to June 2018 were shown as fees received for public relations services including business and management advice,” it said. But this is nothing but a borrowing from a foreign subscriber, hence it violates FEMA provisions.

The FEMA official probing the matter, after receiving a detailed reply from Amnesty India, found that AIIPL was an entity formed under Amnesty International Limited of the UK, which was set up for the purpose of social work in India. According to the statement, “However, AIIPL has been involved in a number of activities which are not in consonance with its declared commercial activities.” To avoid the eyes of FCR, work has been done to send foreign funds to India in the name of business activities.

The Enforcement Directorate said that all claims and affidavits made by Amnesty India regarding receipt of this amount in lieu of services rendered to Amnesty International have been rejected “for lack of concrete evidence”. The agency has concluded that the amount of Rs 51.72 crore received by Amnesty India was actually given by Amnesty International to fulfill its purpose in the Indian territory. According to the ED, this activity of Amnesty violates the provisions of the FEMA Act, so a show cause notice has been issued regarding the penalty in this case.

Tags: Amnesty india, Directorate of Enforcement

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