Based on a 2014 complaint, the CBI filed a complaint against the Madurai-based Center for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC) under the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act 1976.
The move comes at a time when the union’s Home Office removed 6,000 organizations, including Oxfam India, from the list of organizations registered under the FCRA as of January 1.
The CPSC is a trust founded in 1981 and operates a program unit called “People’s Watch” founded by famous human rights defender and activist Henri Tiphagne.
People’s Watch is known to have taken on cases of human rights violations such as deaths in custody, caste atrocities and extrajudicial killings, including representing victims of the massacre in the Thoothukudi district in 2018, where police from Tamil Nadu was accused of opening fire and killing 13 environmental protesters. .
Tiphange, the executive director of People’s Watch, said CBI officials came with a search warrant to their organization on Saturday to collect peer-reviewed documents in 2012 and 2013.
An FIR, a copy of which is at HT, was registered in Chennai on January 6, based on a complaint filed by the director of the Foreigners’ Division (FCRA wing) at the Home Office, AK Sinha in 2014 .
The complaint says the ministry conducted two inspections at the CPSC in 2012 and 2014 and found that after FCRA’s registration was suspended, the organization withdrew. ??28 lakh in July 2012.
Another amount of ??1.69 crore was withdrawn from 2008 to 2012 which did not match the vouchers available.
Foreign contributions of ??4,454,000 were withdrawn in cash from 2011 to 2013 on 240 occasions.
“The association has used foreign contributions for purposes other than those for which they were received,” the FIR said.
The complaint added that People’s Watch acted as a separate entity communicating directly with foreign contribution guarantee organizations and that most of the vouchers and invoices were not in the name of the CPSC.
The organization has now been registered under sections 120-B r / w, 420 IPC, section 33,35 39, r / w 7, 8 and 13 of FCRA 2010.
The FIR also added that in 2020, the government of Tamil Nadu at the time (under the AIADMK) had given its consent to the CBI to investigate the matter.
Withdrawing and transferring money into the FIR were all legal under the law during that time (before an amendment to the FCRA), Tiphange said.
“The FIR comes 10 years later. It’s totally based on lies, ”Tiphange said.
He said the details of the FIR relate to the period 2008-2012 on the basis of which there were three successive FCRA suspensions issued by the previous government.
“After the third stay order was issued in 2013, we challenged the fact that in the Delhi High Court and in May 2014, the Home Office opened our bank account and declared that it did not there was no problem in our operation, ”Tiphange said.
“My simple question is, the so-called FIR calls this a criminal case for the offense of conspiracy and cheating. If this had been true, regarding the FIR period, the ministry would not have allowed us to open the bank account. In 2016, once again, we were forced to close. Our FCRA was not renewed and we went to court again. It is pending before the High Court of Delhi.
Tiphange used social media to establish his position. “The union government thinks that by intimidating us in this way, we human rights defenders can be silenced,” he said Sunday during his Facebook live stream.
He took to Twitter to say their FCRA account had been frozen for more than 2,500 days. “If it’s not retribution, what is it?” We are ready to cooperate because of our confidence in the rule of law. “