Teesta Setalvad's NGO CJP put under 'prior permission' list

Compounding activist Teesta Setalvad's trouble, her NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has been put under Prior Permission category by the Home Ministry.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 24, 2015, 18:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Compounding activist Teesta Setalvad's trouble, her NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has been put under Prior Permission category by the Home Ministry.

The decision has been taken following an investigation by the Home Ministry which found alleged violation of various provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act by CJP.

"The NGO will have to take prior permission from the foreigners division of the Home Ministry before accepting or utilising the foreign contribution," an official said.

CJP, which has been fighting cases for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, had received a total foreign contribution of around Rs 1.18 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14. According to the notice, more than 80 per cent or nearly Rs 95 lakh was spent for legal aid.

Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabarang Trust, run by Teesta and her husband Javed Anand, were served notices by the Home Ministry about two months ago asking the NGOs why their registration under FCRA would not be cancelled as on-site inspection of records and books of accounts of the two found "irregularities and financial misappropriation".

While CJP was registered for 'Educational and Economic' purposes, it received foreign contribution for activities such as 'Legal Aid' which is covered under purpose 'Social'. Hence, it violated FCRA rules, the Home Ministry contended.

"On review of vouchers of the Association, it was found that Sabrang Trust (another NGO of Teesta) have made payment of Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit facilities taken through credit cards belonging to Setalvad and Anand.

"This amounts to use of foreign contribution for the purposes not authorised as per the provisions of FCRA 2010. Thus, the Association has violated Section 8(1) (a) of FCRA 2010," the Home Ministry notice had said.

The Ministry's investigation also found that Anand has taken international medical policy for visiting Lahore and debited the amount in the account of Sabrang Trust.

Facing the notices, the two NGOs have conveyed to the Home Ministry that they have done no financial irregularities and no foreign contribution was misused by any of its office bearer.