CBI books Delhi NGO Advantage India for Rs 90 crore fund misuse

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team on Friday also conducted raids at 11 places in Delhi connected to Deepak Talwar and his associates. 

Published: 17th November 2017 09:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2017 09:09 PM   |  A+A-

By IANS

NEW DELHI: The CBI has registered a case against Delhi-based NGO Advantage India, its owner Deepak Talwar, a famous corporate lobbyist, and four others for misusing Rs 90.72 crore donations from two defence and aviation firms -- MBDA and Airbus SAS.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team on Friday also conducted raids at 11 places in Delhi connected to Talwar and his associates. 

Already being probed by the Income Tax department for various financial irregularities, Talwar, who is also under the scanner for meeting then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha more than 50 times at his residence in 2014, is accused of siphoning off these funds received in Advantage India, run by his family.

The CBI, in its case, alleged that France-based Airbus SAS and UK-based missile manufacturer MBDA International gave about Rs 90.72 crore to the NGO for initiatives related to healthcare and education but the money was later found to have been used for purchasing properties.

The IT department has also levelled similar allegations against Talwar.

The NGO is accused of flouting several provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), including "false statements, false accounts, claimed bogus expenses, furnished concocted vouchers, purchased three luxury cars over Rs 84 lakh, payment made by NGO for foreign visits of Talwar, funds used for making payment related to business activities of the founder of Advantage India".

Apart from Talwar and his NGO, the CBI booked Accordis Health Care Pvt Ltd, its Managing Director Raman Kapoor, another member Sunil Khandelwal and one T. Kapoor in the case. 

Incorporated in 1999, Advantage India claims to be a non-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of the marginalised communities through community development outreach programmes.

The NGO's official website says it also focuses in areas of health, education, livelihood, environmental degradation and gender inequities.

The Union Home Ministry in May had also sent a notice to the NGO, headquartered in south Delhi's Yusuf Sarai, asking why its FCRA registration should not be cancelled. The NGO was given 15 days to respond over the issue.

Advantage India is being probed by the Home Ministry for violating various FCRA norms for misusing foreign donations from MBDA and Airbus SAS.

The Ministry notice has said that in 2015, Talwar transferred the Directorship of Advantage India to his wife, Deepa, "but didn't intimate the Ministry about the change in violation of Rule 17A of the FCRA."

The Ministry also said the "NGO is not doing any charitable activity and mis-utilised foreign contribution for personal gains or business purposes in violation of Section 12 (4)(vi) of FCRA".

In 2012-13, the NGO did not file annual returns for receiving Rs 20.9 crore from Airbus SAS, and Rs 13.7 crore from MBDA International, a UK-based missile manufacturer, in violation of Rule 17 of FCRR, 2011.

It also received Rs 45 crore from Airbus SAS in its non-FCRA account in violation of Section 17 of FCRA, 2010.

On analysis, the Income Tax Department has found that the amount received by Advantage India was, in turn, being transferred to 30 other accounts that were merely rotating the amount among each other and most of them had a common registered address. 

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