ED action in money laundering case against Amnesty India; agency attaches assets worth Rs 1.54 crore
The ED investigation allegedly found that Amnesty entities adopted a new method upon cancellation of FCRA Licence of AIIFT to receive money from abroad and Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of foreign direct investment and export of services.
The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 1.54 crore of a charitable trust linked to international human rights organisation Amnesty India under the anti-money laundering law.
On Friday, a provisional order for attachment was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) -- in a case linked to an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the India arm of the global organisation.
The Enforcement Directorate investigation stems from the First Information Report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Amnesty India. The ED claims that the permission for receiving foreign contributions from the Amnesty International UK that had been granted to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) under the FCRA, 2010, during 2011-12 was cancelled, and permission/registration has been denied.
IAIT and Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) were formed in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively "to escape" the FCRA route, the agency further claimed, adding that NGO activities were carried out with the funds sent in the guise of foreign direct investment (FDI) and service export.
The investigation allegedly found that Amnesty entities adopted a new method upon cancellation of FCRA Licence of AIIFT to receive money from abroad and Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of foreign direct investment and export of services.
However, the agency said there was no documentary proof for the alleged export, such as invoices and copies of the agreement submitted during the probe.
The agency claimed that prima facie, its probe found that Amnesty International (UK) invested in Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL) in the form of "compulsory convertible debentures". Another Indian entity, IAIT, subsequently established an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore, keeping the Rs 10 crore FD of AIIPL as collateral.
IAIT allegedly used the overdraft facility for Amnesty India's NGO activities, including (payment of) salary and operational and administrative expenses. Therefore, the ED said, the FDI received by AIIPL was being used by the IAIT, Bengaluru, to carry out its NGO activities, and it is seen that there is a layering of remittances received by AIIPL, a company, into IAIT, which is a charitable trust.