The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday has conducted nationwide search operation covering 40 locations in multiple cities against offcials of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), non-profit organisations and others for allegedly violating foreign grant rules, sources privy to the development told Business Standard.
The action follows the first information report filed against these offcials, NGOs and middle-men for breaching Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) norms.
The searches have been continuing in multiple cities including Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mysore and some places in Rajasthan, sources quoted above said.
At least six officials of MHA’s FCRA division (which approves registration and grants) along with NGO representatives and middlemen were found involved in illegal clearances of foreign donations in lieu of hefty bribes, it has been learnt.
During the searches, the agency held some government officials for taking bribes from NGOs through middle-men. It also found Rs 2 crore of hawala transactions, trails of which they examining. The federal agency could book some more offcials later in the night, source indicated.
Sources said that the searches will continue this week as several more are under CBI’ radar, they said.
The central agency is learnt to have acted on the complaint by the MHA regarding the issue. The agency is also probing a possible money laundering angle.
It came to light that several public officials from the MHA, NGO representatives and middleman exchanged money to facilitate the foreign donations in violation of FCRA, 2010, they said.
The Centre amended the FCRA in 2020 allowing conducting an enquiry before a renewal and giving organisations of surrendering the licence if an organisation doesn’t want it. There are about 16,000 registered organisations under FCRA.