TN officials inspect Greenpeace India office

TN officials inspect Greenpeace India office

Summons issued for tax hearing next week

TN officials inspect Greenpeace   India office

Greenpeace India on Wednesday claimed that Tamil Nadu government officials inspected their office in Chennai and also that a summons has been issued to it for a tax hearing next week.

The NGO, which is facing a show-cause notice, said the move was “orchestrated by those who are frustrated” by Greenpeace India’s resilience and are searching for “new ways to shut it down”.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had slapped a show-cause notice on Greenpeace India on charges of violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and froze its accounts. Last week, the Delhi High Court allowed the NGO to operate two of its accounts to receive domestic donations.

In a statement, Greenpeace India said a team of investigators from the Tamil Nadu government entered the NGO’s office “during a quickly scheduled visit” at 11:30 am on Wednesday.

“They refused to submit their request in writing, but verbally confirmed that they were looking into the organisation’s society status -- the legal basis on which Greenpeace operates in India,” it said.

Tough fight

Greenpeace India programme director Divya Raghunandan said they have turned out to be stronger than the MHA expected. “As a result, the bureaucrats in Delhi are searching desperately for new ways to shut us down. This latest move is quite obviously a response to the high court decision last week in which the judge allowed us to use our bank accounts. We refuse to be intimidated, and we will cooperate fully with this investigation, as we have done throughout,” she said.

The NGO also said it has been summoned to a tax hearing on June 12, for which its accountants have been told to prepare for a large tax bill.

“Greenpeace India is a charitable organisation, and thus should be exempt from most taxes. But the government has chosen to retrospectively remove tax exemption on a number of items,” the NGO said.

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