4 NGOs booked for funding protests

4 NGOs booked for funding protests

Home Ministry finds alleged discrepancies in their audited accounts

Coming down severely on four Christian NGOs based in South Tamil Nadu, the Centre on Tuesday registered cases against them for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) in the wake of the struggle committee against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) intensifying their stir.

gerGerman national Sonnteg Reiner Hermann (49)was deported from Tamil Nadu in the wee hours on Tuesday for his alleged “active involvement” in protests against the KNPP project. PTI The cases have been registered by the CBI and the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch Police, against these four NGOs, mainly based in Tuticorin and Nagercoil, close to Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, where Russians have helped India build two 1,000 MW “vver type” nuclear power reactors, informed sources here said.

Officially, the names of these four NGOs are not being disclosed, as it is a sensitive matter pertaining to the minorities, obfuscating the otherwise good work they are doing to society at large. However, sources said that one of the NGOs is allegedly linked to the Catholic Church in Tuticorin and another NGO is suspected to have indirect links with S P Udayakumar, heading the anti-KNPP stir.

Some weeks back, Home Ministry officials had swooped down on these NGOs premises as part of verifying the audited accounts of 12 NGOs, sources said. In that process some alleged discrepencies were noted in the above four NGOs, wherein large amount of cash received for charity work had been allegedly “misappropriated” and diverted. Investigators believe that those amounts could have been channelled to sustain the anti-Kudankulam nuclear plant campaign.

The bank accounts of those four NGOs have also been frozen, sources said.
The four-member panel headed by M R Srinivasan, former head of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), is learnt to have cleared the decks from the safety point view for starting operations at the nuclear plant even as anti-nuke activist S P Udayakumar sent a legal notice to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, strongly objecting to his remarks that their protest was funded from abroad.

In the legal notice served on the prime minister, anti-nuke activist Udayakumar’s lawyer said, the “imputation is totally false and deeply hurts my client and his reputation.” He urged Singh to make amends or face legal consequences.

Srinivasan, leading the recently appointed State committee to study the 2,000 MW KNPP’s safety aspects in response to the Kudankulam area people’s concerns, presented the report to the chief minister at the Secretariat here on Tuesday.

He said his views on the nuclear plant’s “safety” in all aspects stood and it was now for the Tamil Nadu Government to “take further steps in the matter.”

The state panel, including S Iniyan, T Arivuoli (both of Anna University) and retired IAS official L N Vijayaraghavan, was set up in the backdrop of two big reports already submitted by the Central Experts Group attesting to the “safety” of the KNPP, and answering “most queries” raised by the anti-KNPP protesters. Jayalalitha’s decision to set up this committee came amid a severe power crisis facing the State.

In a related development a 50-year-old German national, Reiner Hermann, detained in Nagercoil down South for allegedly trying to raise funds for an NGO close to the anti-KNPP struggle, was deported back home from Chennai by the Tamil Nadu Police on Tuesday morning.

The German national was put on a Lufthansa flight from Chennai after the State ‘Q’ branch trailed him in Nagercoil on a tip-off from the IB in Delhi, sources here said.

In Delhi, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy “welcomed” the positive hints thrown by Srinivasan on Tuesday. The Anti-nuke group’s convenor S P Udayakumar said he could comment only after seeing the recommendations in the panel’s report.

The buzz in Secretariat circles here is that he is likely to meet the chief minister soon, even as Udayakumar reiterated that the panel did not talk to their (protestors) experts panel and to the area people directly. Also, the ruling AIADMK is unlikely to take a decision until the Assembly by-poll from Sankarankovil in Tirunelveli district on March 18, is over.