India's federal investigation agency raided the offices of international human rights watchdog Amnesty International over alleged irregularities regarding foreign funding. The raids were held in the Bengaluru and New Delhi offices of Amnesty on Friday. The raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took place following a complaint filed by India's Ministry of Home Affairs.
CBI said in a statement that the Indian unit of the human rights organisation received funds from Amnesty International UK despite government restrictions. "It was alleged that the provision of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 and Indian Penal Code were contravened," CBI said in a statement.
Amnesty International lashed out at the government of India citing alleged harassment. "Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty International India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India," the group said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The home ministry said Amnesty violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and Indian Penal Code by accepting contributions from UK through AIIPL route. It said Amnesty (UK) remitted Rs 100 million to Amnesty's Indian entities classified as FDI, without MHA's approval.
"Another Rs 26 crore has been remitted to Amnesty (India) primarily from UK based entities without MHA's approval. Amnesty has made several attempts to obtain prior permission or registration under FCRA. The same was not granted. In reaction to repeated denials, Amnesty used commercial methods to evade FCRA," the agency added.
'Acted in full compliance of laws'
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India had raided two offices of Amnesty International over alleged violation of foreign exchange rules. Amnesty reiterated that it has done nothing wrong.
"Amnesty India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent," the rights watchdog said in the statement.