ED seizes Amnesty International India's assets worth over Rs 17 cr in money laundering case

ED said that upon cancellation of the FCRA licence by the Union government, Amnesty entities adopted 'new methods' to receive money from abroad

Press Trust of India February 16, 2021 23:23:24 IST
ED seizes Amnesty International India's  assets worth over Rs 17 cr in money laundering case

Amnesty International India office in Bengaluru. PTI

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday said it has attached over Rs 17 crore bank deposits in connection with its money laundering case against two entities of Amnesty International (India), the global human rights watchdog.

ED said that upon cancellation of the FCRA licence by the Union government, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and Amnesty entities adopted "new method" to receive money from abroad

The agency said in a statement that a provisional order has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) "attaching bank accounts of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT)".

It said "both the entities have acquired the proceeds of crime and layered the same in the form of various movable properties. The order involves attachment of movable properties worth of Rs 17.66 crore being proceeds of crime".

This money laundering case of the ED is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR filed against AIIPL, IAIT, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF) that was filed under various sections of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and the Indian Penal Code (120-B which denotes criminal conspiracy).

"Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) had been granted permission under the FCRA during 2011-12 for receiving foreign contribution from the Amnesty International UK," it said.

However, the statement said the same was cancelled on the basis of the "adverse" inputs received.

"Since permission/registration has been denied to the said entity on the basis of adverse inputs received from security agencies during the year 2011-12, 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," the agency alleged.

A probe found, the ED said, that upon cancellation of the FCRA licence by the Union government, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and Amnesty entities adopted "new method" to receive money from abroad.

The agency said Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of export of services and the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

"For export proceeds/advances to Amnesty International UK there was no documentary proof, such as invoices and copies of agreement between AIIPL and Amnesty International UK, has been furnished by AIIPL to the authorised dealer (AD) banks."

"It is prima facie found that Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and others have obtained foreign remittances to the tune of Rs 51.72 crore in the guise export of services and the FDI from Amnesty International (UK) whose source is the donations from individual donors," the ED alleged.

The agency has earlier attached some properties in this case and the total attachment value now stands at Rs 19.54 crore.

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