Government officials have claimed that there is no Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation against Amnesty International India Foundation, but against a private company linked to the NGO that allegedly received dubious export proceeds worth over Rs. 51 Crore.
However, government officials have said that the ED is investigating two entities linked to the NGO-- Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust. Both are reportedly being probed under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and under the civil proceedings of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The agency had issued a show-cause notice to Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd last September for alleged contravention of FEMA to the tune of over Rs. 51 Crore. This has led to a "freezing" of balance deposit in the bank accounts of Amnesty India International Pvt Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust, officials have said.
Human rights NGO, Amnesty International had earlier in the day put out a statement claiming that the organisation was halting its India operations alleging that its bank accounts were frozen as part of government’s “witch-hunt”.
According to reports, government officials have also claimed that “human rights cannot be an excuse to defy the law of the land.” "All the glossy statements about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their activities which were in clear contravention of laid down Indian laws. Such statements are also an attempt to extraneously influence the course of investigations by multiple agencies into the irregularities and illegalities carried out over the last few years," the government said in a statement this evening.
Amnesty International had said that it was forced to let go of its India staff as it was being subjected to an "incessant witch-hunt over unfounded and motivated allegations.”
"Treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises and dissenting individuals as criminals without any credible evidence is a deliberate attempt by the Enforcement Directorate and government of India to stoke a climate of fear and dismantle the critical voices in India," it said in a statement.
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