The Razorpay account of propaganda website Alt News for receiving donations is deactivated hours after Mohammed Zubair’s advocate admitted in the court that the company had received foreign funding.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, who was representing Mohammed Zubair in a case for hurting the religious sentiments of people, categorically admitted in the Delhi court that her client did not receive foreign funding and it was his company that had received donations from abroad.
Hours later, the Razorpay link for donation to Alt News shows up an error message saying “Oops, looks like this payment page was deactivated or does not exist…”
The ‘Donate’ page on Alt News now shows “Some error occurred” in place of the Razorpay button that previously existed for making donations to the organisation.
Notably, the ‘Donate’ page on Alt News said, “We do not accept foreign remittance as we are not registered under the FCRA Act.”
Mohammed Zubair’s lawyer admits Alt News accepted foreign funding, implying that it committed FCRA violations
However, advocate Vrinda Grover, representing Mohammed Zubair said that it was Alt News that had received the foreign contributions and not her client.
She stated, “Your honour was misled when told that the accused has received it (foreign contributions). AltNews runs under a company under Section 8. They are saying I am a journalist, I cannot receive FCRA. This is to the company, not to me.”
Advocate Vrinda Grover also put out a categorical statement that foreign funds did not go to the bank account of Zubair but to that of Alt News.
Grover was responding to Delhi Police’s submissions which said that Mohammed Zubair had received donations through Razor Pay from countries like Pakistan, Syria and Australia, which required a thorough investigation.
Significantly, only organisations with FCRA licences can accept foreign contributions. Those who receive foreign funding without registration have essentially violated FCRA regulations and are therefore liable to prosecution under relevant sections of the law.
OpIndia has reached out to Razorpay to determine if they took action after complaints by authorities or if Alt News deactivated themselves. We will update the report when Razorpay responds.