Modi government has been taking stringent action on anti-social and anti-national elements across all walks of life. One such sphere in which the Modi government has acted tough is NGOs working with the anti-India approach. Over the past three years, the NDA government has cancelled the licenses of more than 4800 NGOs over violation of the norms of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). As per union minister Kiren Rijiju, the FCRA registrations of these NGOs have been cancelled because they had failed to file annual returns.
Last month, it had been reported that while replying to a written question in Rajya Sabha, Rijiju had said that as per the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010, all associations and NGOs, which are registered under the Act or which are given prior permission to receive foreign contribution under it are required to submit their annual returns, and income and expenditure statements, receipts and payment account, balance sheet for every fiscal year. The NGOs were supposed to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks in order to integrate their systems with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS). Non-submission of the mandatory annual returns is a violation of the provisions of the FCRA.
After the cancellation of FCRA registration, such NGOs will not be able to receive any foreign funding. The incumbent government has taken this firm step because several NGOs were believed to be involved in shoddy financial dealings. As per media reports, a large number of these NGOs were operational in Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, and Maharashtra. Modi government has ensured that NGOs which receive suspicious foreign funding do not continue to operate freely and fearlessly.
One of the major cancellations of FCRA registration that has taken place is of Deepak Talwar owned NGO, Advantage India. According to union minister Kiren Rijiju, the cases of NGOs which are in violation of FCRA norms are forwarded to the concerned prosecution agencies in accordance with the provisions of the FCRA, 2010. He added that the case of Delhi-based Advantage India has been forwarded to the CBI for prosecution.
CBI has booked ‘Advantage India’ over allegations of misusing funds in excess of Rs 70 crore. This assumes a lot of significance given that according to media reports, Deepak Talwar was wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI in a case of misusing over Rs 90 crore obtained through the foreign funding route. According to a Business Standard report, Talwar’s role in some aviation deals during the UPA government is also under scanner. In fact, Advantage India is accused of having received and misused funds from two defense manufacturers, viz. Airbus SAS and MBDA.
It had been reported earlier that cases have been registered against Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, the company Air Asia, Travel food owner Sunil Kapoor, aviation consultant Deepak Talwar, director of Air Asia R Venkatramanan, director of SNR Trading Rajendra Dubey and some anonymous government officials. Under the registered case, the Air Asia group violated 5/20 rule to get the licenses for international operations and Foreign Investment Promotion Board rules. As per 5/20 rule, a company is required to maintain 20 aircraft and five years of experience to become eligible for the license. According to reports, CBI has alleged that Air Asia group employed lobbyist like Deepak Talwar to lobby with government servants for various clearances, the abolition of existing 5/20 rule of aviation and moderation in regulatory policies. Interestingly, all this happened before 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when the UPA government was at the helm of affairs and Ajit Singh used to be the civil aviation minister.
The crackdown on Deepak Talwar-owned NGO carries a lot of significance primarily because Talwar who has been extradited from the UAE is seen as a medium which will yet again expose rampant corruption during the UPA era. The government has cracked down on NGOs violating FCRA norms in a big way and the cancellation of FCRA registration of Advantage India is a historic achievement in this sphere for Modi government.