Accounts of 4 NGOs protesting against K'kulam plant frozen

The Union Home Ministry has frozen bank accounts of four of the seven NGOs, which allegedly received foreign funding to organise protests against commissioning of the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in September last year.

Bank accounts of the Tuticorin Diocese Association, Good Vision Kanyakumari, Rural Uplift Centre, Nagercoil and Trust for Rural Uplift and Education, Tirunelveli were frozen and they have been placed under prohibited category.

The Home Ministry had inspected the account books of the NGOs, under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), to assess the veracity of the charges. “The ministry has not been able to establish any direct link of the NGOs in the agitation, but came across accounting irregularities while scrutinising the flow of funds. It has asked for further investigation by the local police or CBI, to ascertain violation of FCRA, if any,” sources said.

Apart from the Trust for Rural Uplift and Education, whose registration has been suspended, the other three NGOs have challenged the ministry’s order on freezing their accounts, sources said, referring to a status report prepared by the government.Besides, the ministry has directed the district magistrates concerned to submit a report on the activities of two other NGOs, the Peoples Education for Action and Liberation in Madurai and IDEA India in Erode. 

The Tuticorin Multiple Social Service Society has been given a clean chit as its papers did not indicate any misappropriation of foreign funds, barring some “technical errors in accounting,” sources in the ministry said.

Minister of State for Home, Mullappally Ramachandran, had started scrutinising the aspect of foreign funding after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an interview to a foreign journal a few months back, said money from abroad was being used to fuel protests against KNPP.

 “The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the US, don't appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply,” Singh had remarked, inviting criticism from the activists.
Investigations revealed that the Trust for Rural Uplift and Education was involved in political activities, following which its registration was suspended. The Tamil Nadu Police have registered a criminal case against the organisation.

On June 25, the ministry had asked the CBI to investigate the charges of misappropriation of funds by the Rural Uplift Centre, after the sleuths had returned the file citing insufficient evidence to register a case, sources said.  The NGO has challenged the decision in a Madurai court. The ministry is awaiting reports from the state to take a final decision on the NGOs.

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