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Promoters of Omidyar Network named by CBI in FCRA bribery scandal: Read about the organisation’s dubious past shenanigans

Omidyar Network, through one of its front organisations, donated to Forbidden Stories (FS), a dubious organisation launched with the underlying aim of effectuating regime changes and installing pliant governments in countries across the world that align with the left-liberal ideology or reinforce the primacy of the Left's narrative.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named the promoters of NGO Omidyar Network, supported by e-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar, 36 persons/entities including 6 government officials who were employed in the FCRA division of the MHA, and one official of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in the FCRA bribery scandal.

Omidyar Network is known for funding many publications across India. 36 persons/entities, including 6 govt officials who worked in the FCRA division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) & one official of the NIC, have been taken into custody in connection with the case. A few days back, CBI filed an FIR regarding a national FCRA funding scam. At present, there are at least 6 to 8 more networks under the CBI scanner.

The revelation came a day after the premier agency 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.

According to reports, the promoters of NGO Omidyar Network are under the scanner for allegedly bribing officials to receive FCRA licenses. A CBI spokesperson had earlier 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.”

The questionable antecedents of the Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is reportedly a self-styled “philanthropic investment firm” comprising a foundation and an impact investment firm. It was established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. Omidyar Network reports that it has committed more than $992 million to non-profit organisations and for-profit companies across multiple investment areas.

While the name of Omidyar Network has cropped up in the FCRA bribery scandal, it is notable to mention that the organisation has questionable antecedents. In September 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs put the Omidyar Network under the FCRA watchlist.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had sent an internal note to all the banks directing them to put a specific number of foreign organizations in the PRC list (Prior Reference Category) under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010. More than 80 foreign organizations were under the radar of the government’s PRC list. The new ones added include three NGOs from the USA named the Omidyar Network International, Humanity United and Stardust foundation.

Back in 2019, it came to light that the Omidyar Group was one of the donors to Forbidden Stories (FS), a dubious organisation launched with the underlying aim of effectuating regime changes and installing pliant governments in countries across the world that align with the left-liberal ideology and reinforce the primacy of the Left’s narrative.

FS was launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Freedom Voices Network. RSF is the same organisation that came up with a dishonest ‘Press Freedom Index‘ to malign India internationally and portray it as a country where journalists are targeted and persecuted for pursuing truth. However, its propaganda stood exposed when the list of journalists it claimed was imprisoned or killed in India to implicate the Centre belonged mostly to Congress-ruled states and Jammu and Kashmir, where journalists are notorious for being overground workers for terrorists.

The Omidyar Group donated to FS through a front organisation Luminate, whose Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 mentioned that “‘Illiberal democracies’ are emerging,” “Civic space is shrinking, and civil society is under attack,” “Rising populism is creating ruptures in historical party politics,” “Insular, nationalist perspectives are resonating with more people,” and “Communities are becoming more polarized among other things.

While the strategic plan and its animosity towards nationalism made its ideological orientations abundantly clear, it is important to note that the Omidyar Group funded a host of media organisations worldwide, mostly leftist globalist portals such as Scroll.in.

As per The Grayzone, Luminate donated to the Sundance Institute for producing films “used strategically to articulate pressing public issues and movement-building campaigns.” The Grayzone report states, “Among the films cited by Omidyar’s Luminate as a strategic success was The Last Men in Aleppo, an Oscar-nominated propaganda vehicle for the Syrian White Helmets that was produced by the Sundance Institute.”

In a nutshell, Omidyar Group invested in organisations and efforts that were aimed to dislodge governments and regimes it thought did not align with the “liberal worldview” by bankrolling news organisations, entities, movies etc that they thought would aid them in building an alternative narrative and challenging the legitimacy of the incumbent “illiberal” governments.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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

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