On February 16, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a statement announcing it has provisionally attached movable properties of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) worth approximately Rs 17.66 crores. Some properties of Amnesty India were attached earlier. The total attachment value now stands at over Rs.19 crore.
ED has provisionally attached movable properties worth Rs. 17.66 Crores in case of M/s Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd. and others— ED (@dir_ed) February 16, 2021
The statement read, “ED has provisionally attached movable properties worth Rs. 17.66 Crores in case of M/s Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd. and others.” The provisional order was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach bank accounts of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) in the case against two entities of Amnesty International (India), the global human rights watchdog.
As reported by Firstpost, the ED stated that the said entities have acquired the money and layered the same in the form of various moveable properties. “The order involves attachment of movable properties worth of Rs 17.66 crore being proceeds of crime,” it added.
ED had registered case based on CBI’s FIR
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR against AIIPL, IAIT, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF) under sections of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and the Indian Penal Code (120-B which denotes criminal conspiracy). Based on CBI’s FIR, ED had registered a money laundering case against the NGO.
Amnesty formed two entities to receive funds under the guise of FDI and export of services
ED said that during 2011-12 Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) received foreign funds under FCRA from the Amnesty International UK. However, the permission was cancelled based on the adverse inputs from security agencies. The permission was denied several times based on the inputs.
During the investigation, ED found that after the cancellation of the FCRA license by the Indian government, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and Amnesty entities adopted ‘new method’ to receive money from abroad. AIIPL and IAIT were formed in the year 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively to escape FCRA route to carry out activities of the organisation under the guise of service expert and FDI.
As per ED, Amnesty International, UK sent Rs. 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of FDI and export of services. “‘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,” ED said, as per reports.
Amnesty India had shut shop in September 2020
In September 2020, Amnesty India, that had links to British govt and Islamist organisations had shut its shop in India after ED froze all its bank accounts on September 10. In the Twitter thread the organisation posted, it has alleged that they have halted the operations in India “due to reprisal from Government of India.” In 2018, ED had raided its offices over FCRA violations. Former Amnesty India head Aakar Patel was also arrested in 2020 for his defamatory tweets against PM Modi and Ghanchi caste.
In a 2019 report, OpIndia had reported about the connections between Amnesty International India, the British government, and radical Islamists. You can read that report here.