Government Bans Teesta Setelvad’s NGO From Receiving Foreign Funds
Activist Teesta Setalvad.
Activist Teesta Setalvad.

Government Bans Teesta Setelvad’s NGO From Receiving Foreign Funds

An NGO run by civil rights activist Teesta Setelvad, who has espoused the cause of Gujarat riot victims, was banned from receiving foreign funds, on Thursday, with the Home Ministry cancelling its FCRA licence.

Responding to the order, Setelvad said:

I will actively explore all legal options to challenge the MHA’s order.

The government argued that the foreign funds received by the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence had not been used for the rightful purposes.

The order said that during the inspection, the Home Ministry found that foreign contribution has been “frequently used” for items of “personal expenses e.g. for dining in hotels, food takeaways ordered at their residences, cakes and sweets from premium outlets, purchase of purely personal items like ear-buds, wet wipes, clippers, sanitary napkins by both Teesta and Anand, which have been reimbursed to the trustees from FCRA account.”
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Sabrang Trust has spent an amount of Rs 50 lakh for Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL), where Teesta and Anand are working as directors, co-editors, printers and publisher, “clearly violating the mandate of the FCRA,” the MHA order said.

The order also said that the NGO had transferred an amount of Rs 2.46 lakh from its foreign contribution designated account to Sabrang Trust’s domestic account, thus mixing of domestic and foreign funds and violating the rules.

Sabrang Trust has made direct payments of approximately Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to Citi Bank and Union Bank of India on account of credit cards belonging to Teesta and Anand respectively.

The cards are issued in the name of the individuals and the above payments of the foreign contribution shall be treated to have been used for personal gain, the Home Ministry said.

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