Human rights watchdog Amnesty International India on Tuesday denied charges of violating the foreign exchange law after it was recently served with a show cause notice by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
"Amnesty International India acknowledges that Amnesty International India Private Limited has received a show cause notice from the Enforcement Directorate." "We deny the charges. We have faith in the Constitution and the judicial processes and cannot share further details before answering the notice," a spokesperson for the global body said.
The ED had issued a show-cause notice to Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd on July 25 for alleged contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to the tune of over Rs 51 crore.
Official sources had last week said that the notice was issued after completion of probe.
The alleged FEMA contravention is related to the borrowing and lending regulations to the tune of Rs 51.72 crore for rendering civil society activities in the country by getting remittances from its parent body, Amnesty International UK, in the garb of export of services, sources said.
The show cause notice was issued by the Adjudicating Authority of the FEMA, which is a special director rank officer of the ED.
The federal probe agency, in October last year, had conducted searches at the offices of the NGO in Bengaluru on charges of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The ED had then said that after Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) was denied the permission/registration under FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) by the MHA (ministry of home affairs) they "resorted to bypass the FCRA" by floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty lnternational India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL).
"This entity has received foreign funds through commercial route to the extent of Rs 36 crore till date," the ED had said in a statement.
Out of the total amount of Rs 36 crore, it said, Rs 10 crore was received as long term loans.
"This amount was immediately placed in FDs (fixed deposits) and another Indian entity-- Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) had established an over draft facility for Rs 14.25 crore keeping the said 10 crore FD as collateral which means the receipt of FDI by trust only.
"The remaining Rs 26 crore was received in two other bank accounts of AIIPL as consultancy services. The inwards remittances received by the AIIPL from overseas is in violation of FDI guidelines," it had said.