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

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…