The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the Delhi-based leading public think-tank, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), has been suspended by the Home Ministry on grounds of alleged irregularities in handling of donations received from abroad.

The Home Ministry cancelled the CPR’s licence on Monday as it allegedly found prima facie violations of FCRA guidelines, ministry sources said. The Ministry had also sought documents from the CPR on its funding and utilisation to ascertain whether the monies are being spent on the purpose declared by the organisation that claims, as per its website, a “non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.

The office of the CPR, headed by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s daughter Yamini Aiyar in Chanakyapuri, was searched by the Income Tax department last September. It is learnt that the IT scrutiny was the reason for the suspension of the FCRA licence.

Along with CPR, the IT department had searched Oxfam India, a non-governmental organisation, and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation in Bengaluru. The Oxfam licence was also revoked last year after the NGO did not apply for renewal after it lapsed. It has applied for renewal again.

The CPR has appealed to the MHA for renewal of licence and for usage of funds that it had received in the past from among others, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The 1973-born CPR is recognised as a not-for-profit society by the government and contributions to the centre are tax exempt, says its website.

According to its latest annual report 2021-22, the CPR’s gross corpus fund stood at Rs 1,013.82 lakh. While it’s gross receipts (including specific project receipts) during the year was Rs. 1,925.86 lakh.

Among the major donors, besides the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, are: the Indian Council of Social Science Research; William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA; MacArthur Foundation, USA; Namati Inc, USA; Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Children Investment Fund Foundation, USA; Lirnesia, Sri Lanka; US Department of State Federal Assistance Award; Oak Foundation, UK; Ministry Of Water Resources, Delhi; UNICEF ; Government Of Meghalaya; Government Of Andhra Pradesh; World Bank; and Rohini Nilekani.