Policy

Govt bars foreign funds for Greenpeace India, freezes 7 bank accounts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on April 09, 2015

Citing under-reporting and violation of foreign currency rules, the Home Ministry on Thursday suspended Greenpeace India’s Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) registration for 180 days and froze seven of its bank accounts.

The order issued on April 9, gives Greenpeace India 30 days to respond after its receipt.

However, Greenpeace India, said it had not received the order and tweeted: “MHA has issued show cause notice on its website. Our legal team is reviewing it. This does not pause our fight for our environment.”

In its order, the Ministry also said that acceptance of foreign contribution by Greenpeace India “had prejudicially affected the public interest…and has prejudicially affected the economic interest of the State…which violates the grant of certificate of registration.”

The order said that during onsite inspection of accounts and records conducted on September 24 to 27, 2014, it was found that the association had transferred foreign contributions in the FCRA-designated bank account and from there to five other accounts “without informing authority concerned”, which was a violation of rules.

The seven Greenpeace India accounts that have been frozen are in IDBI Bank, YES Bank and ICICI Bank.

The Home Ministry said funding of legal costs, not only for seeking bail but also filing petitions of an associated Indian NGO and activists of the association, is also a violation of FCRA 2010.

Greenpeace India, which gets funding from its parent Greenpeace International, however, tweeted that “68 per cent of our funding in 2014-15 are from Indian supporters. We are proud of such unprecedented support”, and added that the “recent High Court ruling in our favour termed govt’s harassment of Greenpeace as arbitrary, illegal & unconstitutional.”

The environment non-profit has been in the news since early this year when the Modi government deboarded a senior Greenpeace activist, Priya Pillai, who was slated to address British parliamentarians in London on community rights around the Mahan coal mining project in Madhya Pradesh. Greenpeace India had petitioned the Delhi High Court, which last month quashed the ‘lookout’ circular issued against her and questioned the government’s move to stop her from travelling.

“The state may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent”, the court had said.

Published on April 09, 2015

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