CBI raids Amnesty International India's offices in Delhi, Bengaluru; 'pattern of harassment', says human rights watchdog

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday conducted raids at the Amnesty International India's Bengaluru and Delhi offices, reports said.

An Amnesty International India executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, was quoted by PTI as saying that about half a dozen CBI sleuths arrived at about 8.30 am at the human rights watchdog's Bengaluru office and carried out searches till 5 pm.

In a statement, Amnesty International India said, "Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India. It said that it stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights.

"These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent.

"As part of the Nobel Prize-winning movement, Amnesty International India holds itself to the highest evidentiary standards. Over four million Indians have supported Amnesty International India’s work in the last six years and around 1,00,000 Indians have made financial contributions. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold universal human rights and build a global movement of people who take injustice personally," the statement said.

The CBI raid on Friday, however, was not the first time Amnesty India faced scrutiny by the authorities. About a year ago, the Enforcement Directorate had raided the Amnesty International India's office in connection with a foreign exchange contravention case.

The searches were in connection with the alleged violation of Foreign Direct Investment norms linked to a previous case of revocation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the NGO by the Home Ministry in 2010.

The CBI also issued a statement on Friday, detailing its reasons for the raids. Based on available information, the central agency has listed a few observations justifying the raid. One such observation accuses the Amnesty International India of violating the FDI norms. "In order to evade FCRA, Amnesty (UK) has remitted Rs 10 crore to Amnesty's Indian entities, classified as FDI, without the MHA's approval," it said.

 CBI raids Amnesty International Indias offices in Delhi, Bengaluru; pattern of harassment, says human rights watchdog

The CBI also observed that "another Rs 26 crore has been remitted to Amnesty (India), primarily from UK-based entities, without the MHA's approval".

With inputs from agencies


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Updated Date: Nov 15, 2019 21:55:09 IST