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61 crore fine … How much did Amnesty India do wrong? The court has issued summons to former CEO Akar Patel

New Delhi: A Bengaluru court has summoned senior officials, including former Amnesty India CEO Akar Patel, on a complaint by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In fact, the ED has slapped a fine of Rs 61.72 crore on Amnesty India and Aakar Patel under FEMA. A day later, the agency said it had filed a money laundering chargesheet against the organization and some other organizations. The ED said in a statement that the court had taken notice of the chargesheet filed under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and had issued summons to the accused.

‘Criticism common in central government’
In a series of tweets, Amnesty International India has called the money laundering allegations “completely false” and said it has become common practice in the current central government to crack down on its critics under repressive laws. A complaint has been filed in a Bengaluru court against Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, Indians for Amnesty International Trust and others.

The ED had taken note of the CBI’s FIR and registered a case of money laundering against the accused. Subsequently, the agency filed a case under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 for alleged violation and section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. “During 2011-12, the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust was allowed to receive foreign funding from Amnesty International, UK under the FCRA, 2010,” the ED said. “Based on adverse inputs, this permission was later revoked,” the agency added.

Understand the whole matter
The ED said that two new entities – AIIPL and IAIT – were set up in 2013-14 and 2012-13 to avoid the FCRA route and these institutions received foreign exchange under the guise of service exports and FDI. Amnesty International India clarified in a tweet, “We reiterate that the allegation of the Financial Investigation Agency, ED, under the Ministry of Finance, that Amnesty International India was involved in money laundering is completely false.” In a series of tweets, Amnesty India International said, “ED’s malice is evident from the fact that it has issued several press releases before the legal notice reached Amnesty and Akar Patel.” This is contrary to the natural principles of justice.

In another tweet, the human rights group said, “Before freezing Amnesty International India’s bank account from September 2020, there is no way for employees and lawyers to pay arrears for their services in many court cases.” “As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), India needs to maintain high standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” Amnesty said. On the contrary, it has become common practice in the present government to crack down on its critics through false allegations under repressive laws.


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