HC rules out CBI probe against NGOs run by Anna supporters

 The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of a petition seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe against some Anna Hazare supporters for receiving funds illegally from foreign organisations.

A division bench of chief justice D Murugesan and justice V K Jain disposed of the plea after the Central government said it had found lapses in foreign funding to three NGOs linked to Anna Hazare supporters. But there is “no need for a criminal case”.

The home ministry said Navjyoti Indian Foundation and India Vision Foundation, run by Kiran Bedi and Kabir, run by Manish Sisodia, had received funds but they were not used for any political activity or the India Against Corruption group.

A junior of advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who filed the public interest litigation, told the court that the counsel was engaged in the Delhi gang rape case, which was being heard in a Saket court and therefore, he could not attend this hearing.

Justice Jain criticised the conduct of the counsel for remaining absent from the last four hearings.
“The hearings took place on December 5, 2012, January 16, January 23 and even on Thursday. The status report has been filed by the Central government and we are disposing of the plea,” the justice said.
The affidavit of the home ministry said, “The inspections were carried out in August and November under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and some irregularities were found.”

“These are not serious enough at this stage to warrant criminal investigation.”
The affidavit said during an inspection at Kabir in August, it was found that some vouchers were not supported by the bills, while repairing bills of personal vehicles were claimed from the association’s accounts.

It added that cash was disbursed to many people without justification or records.
Most of the foreign contributions were spent on tours without approval of the trustees and the NGO was being run from Manish Sisodia’s flat.

It was found that the India Vision Foundation maintained 15 bank accounts including an FCRA-designated account and frequently withdrew foreign contributions and deposited them into other accounts, said the affidavit.

The government filed its affidavit on a plea by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma alleging that supporters of Hazare received foreign funds for their agitation on the Lokpal Bill in violation of the FCRA.

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