The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting raids at the office of the Amnesty India in Bengaluru.
According to sources, the sleuths from ED began their raids for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The FCRA regulates the usage of foreign contributions and donations. The raids started at around 2 pm on Thursday, on all four floors of the Amnesty India building in Indiranagar. As per preliminary information, several individuals have also had their laptops confiscated.
Amnesty India had recently issued a statement that said that the raid on media houses was an attempt to hinder the free press. According to reports, Aakar Patel, the Executive Director of Amnesty India, in a statement said that the Income Tax Department's search on Quintillion Media Private Ltd (which runs a news website 'The Quint') and the homes of its owners, Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapoor, indicates a clampdown on the free press.
Rizwan Arshad, the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress President said that any institution which has been working for the restoration of human rights and raising voices against the high-handedness of the government is being raided.
After Amnesty international India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was denied the permission/registration under FCRA, 2010 by MHA. They resorted to bypass the FCRA Act by floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL). This entity has received foreign funds through commercial route to the extent of Rs 36 crore till date. Out of the total amount of Rs 36 crore. As 10 crore was received as long term loans. This amount was immediately placed in FDs. and another Indian entity, Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) had established an overdraft facility for Rs. 14.25 crore keeping the said Rs.10.00 crore FD as collateral which means the receipt of FDI by trust only. The remaining Rs.26.00 crore was received in two other bank accounts of AIIPL as "consultancy services". The inwards remittances received by the AIIPL from overseas is in violation of FDI guidelines. In this background, searches are conducted at their Bengaluru office today and further investigation is in progress.