Days after the Income Tax Department carried out “surveys action” at their premises, Oxfam India and the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) alleged that the I-T personnel confiscated phones of their team members for cloning to retrieve data. According to an Indian Express report, quoting IPSMF officials, the IT officials took all laptops and mobile phones for cloning data in them and returned last night.
As per media reports, IT officials carried out “surveys” at the offices of Oxfam India, IPSMF and Centre for Policy Research (CPR) starting Wednesday over alleged funding to political parties and foreign funding. Searches were conducted at over 100 locations in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, and Delhi. An official said that it was part of action “against some Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPP).”
IPSMF, Oxfam & CPR response over raids
All the three top organisations have said that they have all the requisite papers to receive and donate funds. They also said that they complied with the I-T officials during the raid.
Complaint with laws: Oxfam India
Oxfam India has said it is compliant with all the laws including IT Act and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). In a statement Friday, Oxfam India said: During these 35 plus hours of non-stop survey, the Oxfam India team members were not allowed to leave the premises; the internet was shut down and all the mobile phones were confiscated….“The Income Tax survey team took away hundreds of pages of data pertaining to finances and programs of Oxfam India. They also took all the data by cloning the Oxfam India server and the private mobile phones of the Senior leadership team and the Finance lead.”
No foreign fund received: IPSMF
The Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) denied reports of having received foreign funds. In a statement, T N Ninan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the IPSMF, said: “The foundation believes that its affairs are entirely in order. Some media reporting on the IT survey has linked it to foreign funding and the funding of political parties. We wish to make it clear that the foundation has received no foreign funds at any stage, and has funded only media entities,” the statement said. “The foundation believes in its mission of supporting independent and public-spirited media, and intends to continue its work.” Grantees of IPSMF include publications such as the Caravan, the Print, Economic and Political Weekly, Swarajya, Article14, and Alt News.
‘CPR has all requisite approvals along with FCRA registration’
“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of compliance and are confident that we have done nothing wrong. We are committed to working with the authorities to address any questions they might have,” CPR President and Chief Executive Yamini Aiyar said. The statement said that as one of the 24 research institutes of the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research network, “CPR has all requisite approvals and sanctions, and is authorized by the government as a recipient under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act”. The donors of CPR include the Australian High Commission, Ford Foundation, and the Institute of Development Studies, UK.
MHA decision on review of NGOs application still pending
The FCRA registration of Oxfam India and 5,932 other NGOs lapsed on December 31 last year. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sources said that 5,789 NGOs did not apply for renewal while applications of the rest were rejected. The MHA had rejected Oxfam India’s renewal application. Oxfam India applied for a review of the MHA decision, which is still pending.
-INDIA NEWS STREAM