NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday cracked the whip on social activist Teesta Setalwad’s NGO, Sabrang Trust, by suspending its licence for 180 days.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, issued on September 10, 2015, mentioned 10 major violations by Sabrang trust noticed during the inspection, further examined after Teesta’s NGO submitted their reply on June 25. The Home Ministry order with the Express said Sabrang trust had made direct payments of approximate Rs 12 Lakh from a FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India as payments for credit cards belonging to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand respectively.
“The cards are issued in the name of individuals and from the above mentioned payment it appears that foreign contribution has been used for personal gain. This amounts to using the foreign contribution for purposes not authorised as per provisions of FCRA, 2010 and has thus violated Section 8(1)(a) of FCRA,” the order stated.
The MHA had conducted on-site inspection of records and accounts of the association between April 9 and 11 in the Sabrang’s office in Mumbai and subsequently it had communicated the findings on June 5, 2015.
The MHA had pointed out that correspondents, columnists and editors are prohibited from accepting foreign contributions but Teesta and Javed Anand violated the rules as both are also working as directors, co-editors, printers and publishers in a company Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd and had published a magazine called Communalism Combat. Further both had written various articles in newspapers and magazines though in such a situation they are completely prohibited to accept foreign contributions.
The Ministry further noted that Sabrang Trust received over Rs 48 Lakh and Rs 49 lakh in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively out of which they have spent Rs 30 Lakh and Rs 27 Lakh, which comes to 64.23 per cent and 55.14 per cent respectively, on administrative expenses.