NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has provisionally attached ₹1.54 crore in bank accounts of a trust linked to Amnesty India under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
“Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has provisionally attached assets worth ₹1.54 crore in bank accounts of M/s. Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002,” ED said in a statement.
The federal agency is investigating allegations that the group tried to bypass the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act by floating a commercial entity, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and received foreign funding in the garb of export of services.
The human rights group has not reacted to the development yet.
According to ED, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was permitted to receive foreign funds from Amnesty International UK in 2011-12. This approval was, however, withdrawn due to adverse reports.
“Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and IAIT were formed in the year 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively to escape the FCRA route and carried out NGO activities in the guise of service export and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment),” it said.
“Amnesty International, U.K. sent ₹51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of Export of Services and Foreign Direct Investment, however, there was no documentary proof for the alleged export such as invoices and copies of the agreement submitted during the investigation,” it added.
It also alleged that IAIT established an overdraft facility for ₹14.25 crore and kept ₹10 crore in fixed deposit by AIIPL.
“The overdraft facility was used by IAIT for Amnesty India’s NGO activities including salary and administrative and operational expenses. Therefore, the FDI received by AIIPL are being used by the Indians for Amnesty International Trust, Bengaluru to carry out its NGO activities,” ED said.
Amnesty shut its India operation on September 29, 2020, alleging the witch-hunt
by government agencies. “The organisation has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work. This is latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations,” the organisation said at that time, and insisted that Amnesty International India was “in full compliance with Indian and international law”.