Centre suspects source, blocks funds to Amnesty India

One third of the sum originates from a trust registered in the tax haven of Gibraltar and founded by Anurag Dikshit, who earlier pleaded guilty in a US court of gambling fraud.

FP Staff February 15, 2014 13:08:33 IST
Centre suspects source, blocks funds to Amnesty India

Amnesty International India, the Indian arm of the global human rights campaign group, has found funding of Rs 3.09 crore (3,00,000 pounds) blocked with the Ministry of Home Affairs declaring the funds be stalled as one third of the sum originates from a trust registered in the tax haven of Gibraltar. The trust is founded by Anurag Dikshit, who earlier pleaded guilty in a US court of gambling fraud.

Centre suspects source blocks funds to Amnesty India

Representational image. Reuters

The Indian Express reports that while 2,00,000 pounds of the sum was from Amnesty International, the remaining 1,00,000 pounds were from the Kusuma Trust founded by Dikshit.

Dikshit, according to reports, transferred a massive £ 172.4 million from his personal fortune to Kusuma Trust in India a few years ago. Dikshit reportedly made his fortune from his online poker company.

According to reports, in 2008, Dikshit pleaded guilty to charges of illegal Internet gambling and agreed to cooperate with a US Justice Department investigation. He agreed to forfeit $ 300 million.

As Amnesty International India does not have the mandatory FCRA (Foreign Contriibution Regulation Act) registration to receive funds from abroad, the organisation approached the MHA to receive the funds.

Amnesty first approached the MHA in 2010-11 seeking permission to receive 2,00,000 pounds from Amnesty International, London.

"But the new proposal to receive 100,000 pounds from Kusuma — which came with another proposal to receive 200,000 pounds from Amnesty International in Britain — was referred to the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for inquiry," said the report.

Kusuma funds 10 organisations working in the field of education. A spokesman for Kusuma told The Indian Express that the trustees are proud to be supporting this important educational initiative.

Amnesty India chief executive Anantha Padmanabhan also said the money was for human rights education in India.

The report quoted MHA sources as saying RAW and IB had both pointed out that while Kusuma worked in the area of education, Amnesty was involved in the “vastly different" area of human rights.

Kusuma could soon be put on a list of foreign donors who require prior approval from MHA to donate to Indian NGOs, the report said.

The decision comes in the wake of Finance Minister P Chidambaram's recent comments about NGOs misutilising foreign funds.

 

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