The CBI has arrested 14 people and recovered Rs 3.21 crore in cash during searches in 40 places against NGOs, mediators and Union Home Ministry officials for allegedly violating the Foreign Contribution (Control) Act and facilitating foreign grants, officials said on Wednesday.
The agency had on May 10 registered the case against seven officials of the FCRA department of the Home Ministry and 36 others, including NICs, mediators and NGO representatives.
On Tuesday, the CBI conducted searches at 40 places across the country.
The ministry found that at least three networks, working closely with government officials, were charging NGOs “speed money” and “troubleshooting fees” to expedite FCRA clearances so they could receive foreign grants, officials said.
The ministry has directed a CBI probe into the incident.
In a communication to the CBI on March 29, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that at least three FCRA clearance networks were working in close collaboration with some government officials.
The three network NGOs affiliated with government officials are charging “speed money” and “troubleshooting fees” to expedite FCRA clearances and resolve issues related to the application process for new registrations and renewals, officials said.
“It was alleged that some officials of FCRA department, promoters / representatives of various NGOs, conspired with the middlemen, were involved in corrupt activities for the backdoor FCRA registration / renewal of NGOs so that they could continue to accept grants even though the objectives were not met.” Joshi says.
Officials said that when the matter was brought to the notice of Home Minister Amit Shah, he had directed that strict action should be taken against those involved.
Yoshi said some government employees were disguising officials in the FCRA department and accepting bribes from NGOs for renewing their registration / registration under the FCRA and other FCRA-related work.
He said that during the investigation, the two accused were caught distributing and accepting a bribe of Rs 4 lakh on behalf of a senior accountant at MHA, New Delhi.
He said the bribe was allegedly distributed through a hawala operator in Avadi (Tamil Nadu) and a close associate of the said government employee.
Among the accused are Paramod Kumar Vasin, Alok Ranjan, Raj Kumar, Md. Gajanfar Ali, Uma Shankar and Tushar Kanti Roy.
Iris Multipurpose Social Service Society, Center for Tribal and Rural Development, Mohammad Jahangirabad Educational Trust, Christian Life Center Ministries, Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India and Nyi Roshni.
Employees of hawala operators, middlemen, representatives of executive and consulting firms, relatives and employees of officials have also been charged in the FIR, they said.