The home ministry said, on inspection of accounts of Sabrang Trust, it was noticed that the Association has received total donation of Rs 48.42 lakh and Rs 49.10 lakh in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively out of which they have spent Rs 30.97 lakh and Rs 27.07 lakh which comes to 64.23% and 55.14% respectively, on administrative expenses.
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Cracking the whip again on activist Teesta Setalvad, the union home ministry on Thursday suspended the FCRA account of Sabrang Trust for 180 days finding it guilty of 10 violations. The move could well pave the way for termination of Sabrang Trust’s FCRA licence that allows it receive and utilise foreign aid.
The Sabrang Trust run by Teesta Seetalvad and her husband Javed Anand, can make a representation against the order within 30 days. If the reply fails to satisfy the Centre, Sabrang Trust’s registration will be cancelled, the ministry said.
Of the other two organisations run by Teesta, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has already been put under prior permission category, while the other Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) is undergoing a CBI probe for allegedly accepting and utilising foreign contribution in violation of the FCRA.
Teesta was at the forefront of fighting cases on behalf of post-Godhra riots victims in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.
The ministry said, on inspection of accounts of Sabrang Trust, it was noticed that the Association has received total donation of Rs 48.42 lakh and Rs 49.10 lakh in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively out of which they have spent Rs 30.97 lakh and Rs 27.07 lakh which comes to 64.23% and 55.14% respectively, on administrative expenses.
As per section 8 (1)(b) of FCRA 2010 requires approval of the Home Ministry before incurring expenses on administrative head exceeding 50% limit. Thus, it is a violation of FCRA, the ministry said.
During the course of inspection of books and records of the NGO, the ministry noticed that payments of Rs 50 lakh were made by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL, which seems to have been used for personal gain.
On review of vouchers of Sabrang Trust, it has been noticed that the Association has transferred Rs 2.46 lakh from foreign contribution designated account to Sabrang Trust’s domestic account without any logical reason. This raises the suspicion of mixing of funds by the Association and it can be treated as non-utilisation of foreign contribution for the purpose for which it was received and mixing of foreign contribution with domestic contribution, which is violation of FCRA, the ministry contended.
It is also found that Sabrang Trust has made direct payments of approximately Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit cards belonging to Teesta and Javed Anand respectively as payments.
The cards are issued in the name of individuals and the above mentioned payments appear that the foreign contribution has been used for personal gain and not authorised as per FCRA.
Sabrang Trust paid Rs 1,174 for purchasing an internal medical policy in favour of Anand for attending a conference in Lahore and Rs 4,227 was paid to Anand for purchasing books and travel expenses for attending the People Union for Civil Liberty meeting. The Home Ministry said that from the payments it appears that foreign contribution has been used for personal gain, thus violating FCRA provisions.
The Home Ministry said that during inspection of books and records of the NGO, it was noticed that payments of Rs 50 lakh were made by Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which appears to have been used for personal gain. SCPPL is not registered under FCRA and not entitled to accept foreign contribution by any means.
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