Greenpeace rebuts charges in reply to govt notice

Says 'cynical attempt' being made to shut it down

Greenpeace rebuts charges in reply to govt notice

 Greenpeace India on Friday submitted its rebuttal to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a show-cause notice asking why its registration should not be cancelled, and also accused the government of making a “cynical attempt” to shut it down.

The NGO asked the ministry to drop further proceedings, remove the suspension of its certificate of registration under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), unfreeze all its bank accounts and refrain from cancelling its certificate. It also asked the MHA to give it a chance for personal hearing if it decided to proceed further.

Greenpeace's 26-page response said it is “as much Indian and committed to the development of India as the rest of India and the government are”, while emphasising that disagreements with government policies “cannot, per se, be construed as detrimental to the national interest”.

“It is not clear from your show-cause notice as to how these interests are affected adversely by our activities. Protection of environment, interest of the tribals, forestry and wildlife and offering alternative policies cannot be considered against the interest of the country, public or state in any manner,” it said in the response.

Greenpeace India Executive Director Samit Aich said in a statement: “We have been operating in India for over 14 years, and have filed our accounts properly and reliably throughout this time. The MHA's current attack simply does not stand up to scrutiny, and we are confident that expert analysis will support that claim.”

The ministry had last month suspended Greenpeace's FCRA registration, frozen its account and issued a show-cause notice asking why its registration should not be cancelled after a six-month investigation during which it found that the NGO violated rules and its activities were “prejudicially affecting the national and economic interests of the country”.

Greenpeace has received over Rs 35.5 crore from 2007-08 to 2012-13, and there were some clerical errors, with the difference in interpretation of interest at Rs 22.5 lakh, it said. “This is just 0.64 per cent of the foreign grants received and reported. Obviously, there is no reason for us to either overstate or understate such a small amount knowingly or intentionally to the government, as no purpose is achieved by such misreporting,” it said.

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