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ED files FIR against activist Medha Patkar over money laundering charges during Narmada Bachao Andolan, had received suspicious donations

NGO of Medha Patkar had received donations of same amount from 2- persons on same day, also got donations from a central govt company

On April 5, Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed First Investigation Report (FIR) against activist Medha Patkar over money laundering charges during ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’. Patkar played a significant role in delaying the much-needed Sardar Sarovar Dam. The project was delayed for decades and was finally inaugurated in 2017.

Apart from ED, the Department of Revenue Intelligence and the Income Tax Department also have initiated proceedings against Patkar over the suspicious transactions. She is is being probed for unaccounted money donated to her NGO, and the complainant also has accused her of organised crime.

According to a report in The Pioneer, several complaint were lodged with ED, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, and Income Tax Department against Narmada Navnirman Abhiyan (NNA), an NGO linked to Medha Patkar. It was revealed that the NGO, within a year of its formation in 2004, had received a donation of around Rs 1.2 crores but managed to evade law enforcement agencies for over 17 years.

Source: The Pioneer

The report raised several suspicions about the donations. As per the documents accessed by the Pioneer, the NGO received the funds in a single day on June 18, 2005, from 20 different sources. Interestingly, the amount of all 20 donations were same, which was Rs 5,96,294. One of the donators, Pallavi Prabhaar Bhalekar, was a minor when the funds were transferred. All the funds totalling Rs 1,19,25,880 were received in Bank of India account number 001010100064503.

Apart from the Rs 1.20 crore donation, the NGO also received Rs 62 lakhs from Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) from January 2020 to March 2021. A total of six transactions of different amounts were made during that period. The company name raised eyebrows as it is a Central Government undertaking under the Defence Ministry. The company manufactures warships and submarines for the Indian Navy apart from manufacturing offshore platforms and associated support vessels for offshore oil drilling, tankers, cargo bulk carriers, passenger ships and ferries.

Source: The Pioneer

Sanjeev Kumar Jha, who filed the complaint against Patkar, said, “These transactions amounting to crores of rupees clearly indicate that Patkar, who dons a humble and frugal persona, is flushed with money coming in from various sources that have so far escaped the Government’s attention. Patkar and her NGOs have a history of opposing every project/policy of national importance, be it the Sardar Sarovar project, nuclear projects, coal mine projects and recently, the CAA and the farm laws enacted by the Central Government. Such repeated funding from Mazagaon Dock to an organization with such malafide motives is a matter of great concern.”

He further added, “These transaction details raise serious questions as to how 20 different people made identical transactions on a single day amounting to over Rs 1 crore. Generally, donations are made in round figures but what prompted these donors to deposit money in such odd figures is a matter of investigation. It also points toward organized syndicate funding such as self-styled NGOs that have remained unnoticed so far. The source of funding and the mode of transaction is clearly a subject of detailed investigation as also the purpose behind such huge donations.”

Notably, Jha is the same person on whose complaint Patkar’s passport was confiscated by the Regional Passport Officer on the grounds of concealing important facts.

How Sardar Sarovar Dam changed lives in Gujarat

The foundation of the project was laid down in 1961 by then-Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. It took over 55 years for the waters of Narmada to reach the dry areas of Gujarat. In 2012, then-Chief Minister of Gujarat and now Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had launched a scheme named ‘SAUNI’ (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana to provide excess Narmada water to 115 dams across Gujarat.

The dam now provides irrigation and drinking water to dry areas in the state.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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