December 14, 2016 12:38:01 am
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has renewed the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of an NGO run by activist Teesta Setalvad. The ministry, however, distanced itself from the renewal, saying the application was processed a few months ago when IAS officer G K Dwivedi was in-charge as joint secretary. Dwivedi was removed from FCRA division in September amid the controversy over Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation.
The Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, was under the scanner for alleged misuse of grants to survivors of the 2002 Gujarat riots, following which it was put under the prior permission (PP) category by the MHA in July last year. Under the PP category, an NGO cannot accept funds from any donor and has to seek clearance from the MHA each time.
The renewed licence, however, does not mention whether the NGO is still in the PP category. CJP’s main trustee Javed Anand told The Indian Express, “We have received the renewal licence for CJP and there is no mention that the trust is under PP category anymore.”
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Anand said the NGO had applied for renewal of the licence early this year and provided the MHA all necessary documents.
Teesta is secretary of CJP. Her two other NGOs — Sabrang Trust and Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt. Ltd — are under the scanner of the CBI and Gujarat Police, officials said.
While the Sabrang Trust licence under FCRA was cancelled by the MHA in June this year, Sabrang Communications is facing a CBI probe for receiving and allegedly misusing funds from Ford Foundation. Setalvad had denied the allegations and said in a press statement, “Sabrang Trust will explore legal options to challenge the cancellation of its FCRA licence.”
The MHA said it had inspected the accounts of CJP following a request from the Gujarat government last year, after which the NGO was put in the PP category. The decision to renew the licence was reportedly taken at a senior level in the MHA, unlike the automatic renewal of the licence of Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in August this year.
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