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ED attaches Amnesty India’s assets worth Rs 1.54 cr under PMLA

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate announced on Friday that assets belonging to a charitable trust associated with the international human rights organisation Amnesty India worth Rs 1.54 crore had been seized in accordance with the anti-money laundering statute.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has issued a preliminary order for attachment, according to the statement.

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The order was made in relation to a lawsuit involving an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the India branch of the international organisation against the trust, Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT).

“However, the same was cancelled and permission/registration has been denied,” it said.

In order to “avoid” the FCRA route, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and IAIT were established in 2013–14 and 2012–13, respectively. With the money received under the guise of service export and foreign direct investment (FDI), they conducted NGO activities, according to the ED.

In order to “avoid” the FCRA route, Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL) and IAIT were established in 2013–14 and 2012–13, respectively. With the money received under the guise of service export and foreign direct investment (FDI), they conducted NGO activities, according to the ED.

“Investigation by ED found that upon cancellation of FCRA Licence of AIIFT, a new method was adopted by Amnesty entities to receive money from abroad and Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of export of services and foreign direct investment,” it said.

However, the ED claimed that “no documentary proof”—such as invoices and copies of the agreement—had been provided for the alleged export.

“It is prima facie found that Amnesty International (UK) invested in Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL) in the form of “compulsory convertible debentures”.

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An overdraft loan worth Rs 14.25 crore was subsequently issued by another Indian company, IAIT, using the Rs 10 crore FD of AIIPL as security.

“The overdraft facility was used by IAIT for Amnesty India’s NGO activities including (payment of) salary and administrative and operational expenses. Therefore, the FDI received by AIIPL was being used by the IAIT, Bengaluru to carry out its NGO activities and it is seen that there is a layering of remittances received by AIIPL, a company, into IAIT, which is a charitable trust,” the ED said.

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