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Home Ministry, CBI wrath on corrupt officials: Raids at over 40 locations against NGOs and MHA staffers involved in bribery for FCRA clearance

The ministry had filed a complaint against its officials and NGOs for committing violations of FCRA provisions and allotting licenses in exchange for bribes.

On May 10, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at 40 locations in multiple cities, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Mysuru and others, based on a tip-off by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry had filed a complaint against its officials and NGOs for committing violations of FCRA provisions and allotting licenses in exchange for bribes.

A CBI spokesperson said the raids were conducted “to nab representatives of NGOs, middlemen and public servants of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) division of MHA for committing violations of FCRA provisions and facilitating illegal clearances in lieu of bribes.”

According to an officer at CBI the accused, including public servants, were caught red-handed while exchanging bribes. The officer said, “Around half a dozen public servants and others are being questioned. During searches so far, transactions of around Rs 2 crore through hawala channels have been found.”

Reports suggest that on March 29, a detailed note was sent to CBI director Subodh Kumar Jaiswal by the home secretary as ordered by Home Minister Amit Shah. As per ANI HM Shah was informed about the alleged violation after which he had asked the officials of MHA to deal with the matter strictly leading to a complaint to CBI by MHA.

In the detailed note, MHA pointed out that there were three FCRA clearance networks allegedly operating hand-in-hand with the government officials. These networks were charging NGOs ‘speed money’ or ‘problem resolution money’ to speed up licensing process and ‘resolve’ issues related to formalities and FCRA clearance.

Reports suggest CBI may put some MHA officials under arrest. An officer was quoted saying, “There are people who have been caught red-handed accepting bribes. If the need arises, people will be arrested.”

The FCRA department of MHA

The FCRA department of MHA is part of the foreigners’ division of the ministry. It grants permission to NGOs to receive foreign funds under the FCRA. The division is responsible for renewing and cancelling the license based on the reports they receive.

At present, there are over 16,800 registered NGOs under FCRA with the MHA. Over 20,000 NGOs have lost their FCRA license in the last decade, out of which 12,500+ NGOs did not file for renewal on time. MHA has tightened the regulations under FCRA to ensure the money is not used for anti-India activities.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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