Assets worth Rs 1.54 crore of a charitable trust linked to international human rights organisation Amnesty India have been attached under the anti-money laundering law, the Enforcement Directorate said Friday. A provisional order for attachment has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), it said.
The order has been issued against the trust -- Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) -- in connection with a case linked to an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the India arm of the global organisation. The federal agency, whose case stems from a CBI FIR against Amnesty India, issued a statement saying the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was granted permission under the FCRA, 2010 during 2011-12 for receiving foreign contributions from the Amnesty International UK.
"However, the same was cancelled and permission/registration has been denied," it said. The Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and IAIT were formed in 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively "to escape" the FCRA route and they carried out NGO activities with the funds sent in the guise of service export and foreign direct investment (FDI), the ED said.
"Investigation by ED found that upon cancellation of FCRA Licence of AIIFT, a new method was adopted by Amnesty entities to receive money from abroad and Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of export of services and foreign direct investment," it said. However, the ED said, there was "no documentary proof" for the alleged export such as invoices and copies of the agreement submitted during the investigation.
"It is prima facie found that Amnesty International (UK) invested in Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL) in the form of "compulsory convertible debentures". Subsequently, another Indian entity, IAIT established an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore keeping the Rs 10 crore FD of AIIPL as collateral.
"The overdraft facility was used by IAIT for Amnesty India's NGO activities including (payment of) salary and administrative and operational expenses. Therefore, the FDI received by AIIPL was being used by the IAIT, Bengaluru to carry out its NGO activities and it is seen that there is a layering of remittances received by AIIPL, a company, into IAIT, which is a charitable trust," the ED said.