'Foreign funds received by Team Anna's NGOs not used in stir'

Kiran Bedi
The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that some NGOs affiliated to anti-graft activist Anna Hazare's team had received foreign funds, which were utilised irregularly, but that does not warrant any criminal investigation.

In an affidavit to the bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, the Ministry of Home Affairs said NGOs Navjyoti Indian Foundation and India Vision Foundation, run by Kiran Bedi, and NGO Kabir, run by Manish Sisodia, had received foreign funds but the same was not used for any political activity or India Against Corruption (IAC) movement.

In the affidavit, the government said "inspections were carried out in August and also in November 2012 under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and FCR Rules and some irregularities were found.

"These irregularities are not serious enough at this stage to warrant a criminal investigation. During inspection no documentary proof in the records of the association was found to show the use of the fund in any such political activity or in India Against Corruption (IAC) movement or agitation.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeking CBI enquiry against the members of team Anna for allegedly receiving funds from foreign organisations without government's permission and running their agitation for Lokpal Bill.

According to the affidavit, during inspection of Kabir's account in August, some vouchers were not supported with bills and some bills for repairing personal vehicles were claimed from the association's accounts.

In addition, cash was disbursed to many persons without justification or record, most of the foreign contribution has been spent on tours and travel without approval of trustee and Sisodia has been getting salary for discharging his duties, said the affidavit adding that Kabir's present office runs from residential flat of Sisodia's wife.

The government said during inspection of India Vision Foundation's accounts in November, it was found that the organisation maintained 15 bank accounts including FCRA designated bank account and it frequently withdrew foreign contribution.

In the PIL, the petitioner had said that FCRA mandates the members to seek permission from the Central government in order to receive any fund from any foreign company or organisation.

The members have violated FCRA and the Centre has failed to take any action against them, it alleged.

It also sought a direction to "Union of India to conduct CBI investigation against team members and others and ask for an action taken report."

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