FCRA: CBI registers FIR against Oxfam India, searches its office

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CBI logo | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The CBI registered an FIR against Oxfam India and its office-bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and carried out searches at its office here, officials said on Wednesday.

The FIR against the Indian arm of the global NGO Oxfam was registered based on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The complaint, which is now part of the FIR, has alleged that though Oxfam India's FCRA registration ceased, it planned to circumvent the law by taking other routes to channelise funds.

"Email communication found during IT (income tax) survey by the CBDT shows that Oxfam India has been planning to pressure Indian government for renewal of FCRA through foreign governments and foreign institutions," it alleged.

"The Oxfam India has the reach and influence to request multilateral foreign organisations to intervene on its behalf with the Government of India," it alleged.

The complaint alleged that this exposed Oxfam India as "a probable instrument of foreign policy of foreign organisations or entities" which have funded it liberally over the years.

It alleged that Oxfam India routed funds of its foreign affiliates such as Oxfam Australia and Oxfam Great Britain to certain NGOs and exercised control over the project.

"From the email found during IT survey by the CBDT it appears that Oxfam India is providing funds to the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) through its associates/ employees in the form of commission. The same is also reflected from the TDS data of Oxfam India which shows payment of Rs 12.71 lakh to CPR in the F.Y. 2019-20...," the complaint has alleged.

It said the organisation got FCRA registration to carry out social activities but payment made to the Delhi-based think tank CPR through its associates or employees in the form of commission -- professional or technical services -- is not in the line with its stated objectives.

"This is violation of section 8 & 12(4) of the FCRA 2010," it alleged.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at the office of Oxfam India in Delhi Wednesday, officials said.

In a statement earlier this month, Oxfam India said it is fully compliant with Indian laws.

"Oxfam India is fully compliant with Indian laws and has filed all its statutory compliances, including Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) returns, in a timely manner since its inception. Oxfam India has been cooperating with all government agencies since its FCRA registration wasn't renewed in December 2021," the NGO said.

The group has filed a plea in the Delhi High Court against the decision to not renew its FCRA registration, it said.

"In times of growing inequality and greater need for action on poverty eradication, Oxfam India has been and will continue to work in Public and National interest. Oxfam India believes this is our constitutional duty as an organisation, irrespective of obstacles and hurdles in the path," it had said.

The CBI in its FIR registered on Tuesday also alleged that Oxfam India continued to pay sub grants to various partners even after coming into force of FCR Amendment Act, 2020 which prohibited such transfers.

"The FCRA Amendment Act, 2020 (section 7 of the FCRA, 2010), states that FCRA registered association would not be entitled to transfer or sub grant any of the FC to other organization whether registered or unregistered under the FCRA, 2010. The amendment came in force from September 29, 2020. Oxfam India transferred funds to its partner NGOs, violating section 7 of the FCRA, 2010," it said.


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