Skip to main content

CBI raid: Alleging political vendetta, Setalvad asserts Section 4 of FCRA "allows" foreign contribution for NGO advocacy

By Our Representative
Close on heels of the CBI raid on the official premises of Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd, top human rights defender Teesta Setalvad has declared that the organization she and her husband, Javed Anand head "has broken no law", qualifying the raid "political vendetta". In a statement circulated through South Asia Citizens Web, Setalvad has quoted Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, to prove her point.
Setalvad says, Section 3 of FCRA, 2010, which is being cited to suggest that she has violated law, actually bars "political parties and its office bearers, government servants and those associated with registered newspapers and those involved in the production and broadcast of news from receiving foreign donations."
Indicating that Sabrang Communications was registered keeping in view Section 4 of the FCRA, Setalvad said, this section applies to "persons to whom section 3 shall not apply".
Section 4 states states: "Nothing contained in section 3 shall apply to the acceptance, by any person specified 3 in that section, of any foreign contribution where such contribution is accepted by him, subject to the provisions of section 10- (a) by way of salary, wages or other remuneration due to him or to any group of persons working under him, from any foreign source or by way of payment in the ordinary course of business transacted in India by such foreign source."
Setalvad said, "Sabrang, which published the monthly ’Communalism Combat’ signed a Consultancy Agreement with Ford Foundation in 2004 and 2006 'to address the issues of caste and communalism' through a clearly defined set of activities", and these activities had "nothing whatsoever to do with 'Communalism Combat' or remuneration to Javed Anand or Teesta Setalvad towards discharging editorial/managerial functions".
Setalvad said, deliberately or otherwise, officials are confusing political lobbying of the that takes place in the US "with advocacy initiatives whereby NGOs engage with the government", in which "attention is drawn towards the legitimate issues of women, children, Dalits, religious or linguistic or sexual minorities, differently-abled persons etc." 
Setalvad insisted, "The consultancy was signed by Sabrang only after advice from eminent legal counsel that such an agreement was covered under the exclusion stipulated under Section 4 of the Act and therefore the consultancy fees (not grant or donation) received would not be in violation of FCRA, 2010."
She added, "Ford Foundation in fact deducted TDS with every installment of consultancy fees it paid to Sabrang. The activities undertaken and the expenses incurred were in accordance with the agreement. Activities and Financial Reports were submitted annually to the satisfaction of Ford Foundation."
Pointing out that CBI was "misreporting its search of her house and office premises on July 14, 2015, Setalvad said, even when the CBI search was, its "Delhi spokesperson is misleading the public and our vast supporters by a series of misinformations and officials tweets."
Setalvad underlined, "This is a continuation of the persecution and witchhunt first launched by the Gujarat police in 2014, then under the dispensation that rules Delhi. The CBI has taken the same documents that we had voluntarily on inspection given the MHA (FCRA department)."
She added, "Over 25,000 pages of documentary evidence has been given to the Gujarat Police. When they could not succeed with the bizarre and desperate attempts to gain custody (February 2015), it was the Gujarat government home department that wrote to the MHA and the current round of the persecutions began."
Calling it "shameful political vendetta", Setalvad said, this was planned, because "the Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27, 2015" and "the Naroda Patiya appeals (Kodnani and Bajrangi) are being heard in the Gujujarat high Court on July 15. This is nothing but a bid to subvert the cause of public justice and ensure that no justice happens in these cases."
According to Setalvad, this search is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from scams like Vyapam, in which over 50 persons have died, and the death of witnesses in Asaram Bapu case. She said, "CBI is not appealing in critical cases related to crimes by politicians; the agency is being unleashed on human rights defenders standing up for the rights of survivors of mass violence." 

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through the Desai Foundation dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”