Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2023

CBI files FIR against Oxfam India over FCRA violation

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked Oxfam India and others over an alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violation and carried out searches at its office in Delhi, officials said.

Oxfam India routed funds of its foreign affiliates such as Oxfam Australia and Oxfam Great Britain to certain NGOs

The FIR came days after the Union Home Ministry recommended a CBI probe into the affairs of the Indian arm of the global NGO Oxfam for alleged violation of the FCRA.

The complaint by the home ministry, which is now part of the FIR, has alleged that though Oxfam India’s FCRA registration ceased, it planned to circumvent the law by taking other routes to channelise funds.

“Email communication found during IT (income tax) survey by the CBDT shows that Oxfam India has been planning to pressure Indian government for renewal of FCRA through foreign governments and foreign institutions,” it alleged.

The complaint alleged that Oxfam India routed funds of its foreign affiliates such as Oxfam Australia and Oxfam Great Britain to certain NGOs and exercised control over the project.

“From the email found during IT survey by the CBDT it appears that Oxfam India is providing funds to the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) through its associates/ employees in the form of commission. The same is also reflected from the TDS data of Oxfam India which shows payment of Rs 12.71 lakh to CPR in the F.Y. 2019-20…,” the complaint has alleged.

Oxfam India is a part of the global confederation of Oxfam, which works on issues such as poverty, inequality, gender justice and climate change. The non-governmental organisation has denied any wrongdoing and said that it was cooperating with the authorities.

After the Home Ministry recommended a probe, Oxfam India said in a statement that it is fully compliant with Indian laws and has filed all its statutory compliances, including FCRA returns, in a timely manner since its inception.

“Oxfam India has been cooperating with all government agencies since its FCRA registration wasn’t renewed in December 2021. We have filed a plea in the Delhi High Court against the decision to not renew our FCRA registration. The high court has asked the Union government to respond to our plea,” the NGO said.

Oxfam India’s foreign funding was blocked when the home ministry refused to renew its FCRA licence in 2021. The licence was cancelled citing violation of foreign funding norms.

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