NEW DELHI:Two months after the violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA) by social activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) came to light, the Centre has decided to probe further into the funds transferred from Ford Foundation and is likely to hand over the case to the CBI.
“A CBI probe has been necessitated after inspection indicated that her trust--Sabrang-- allegedly transferred funds received from Ford Foundation to SCPPL. We may issue the order for CBI probe very soon,” a top MHA official said.
The Gujarat government had informed the MHA that SCPPL allegedly received grants to the tune of $2,90,000 from Ford Foundation, thereby violating the FCRA as it does not have the licence to receive foreign contributions. “How a grant of $2,90,000 was given to a private limited company by Ford Foundation to address communalism and caste-based discrimination in India, including media strategies is a subject matter of investigation,” the Gujarat government said.
“There is also transfer of fund from Sabrang Trust to SCPPL which is another violation of FCRA,” the official added.
The MHA had on April 23 put the Ford Foundation under the scanner “in national interest and security of the country” and directed all banks to keep a watch on the funds flowing from the foundation to NGOs, asserting that no fund could be transferred without the ministry’s permission.
The Gujarat government had alleged that project grant of $2,50,000 to Sabrang Trust covers $1,50,000 in salaries for the staff of the trust and $46,000 for its office expenses. It, further, said about 80 per cent of the grant was meant for running the trust office and not for any project objective.
Similarly, it said that the grant of $2,90,000 to SCPPL covered $1,68,204 in salaries for the staff of the company and $47,546 for its office expenses. “Thus about 75 per cent of the grant is meant for running the company’s office and not for realising any clear objective,” it said.