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ED probe reveals funds misused by Christian missionary in Hyderabad

ED initiated an investigation based on FIR registered by Telangana CID against OM group and others for raising funds of around Rs 300 crore from foreign donors in the name of providing free education and meals to Dalit and downtrodden children.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 16:31 IST

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Hyderabad: Directorate of Enforcement (ED) sleuths have searched for 11 locations in and around Hyderabad under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, recently in connection with irregularities in Operation Mobilisation (OM) group of charities.

ED initiated an investigation based on FIR registered by Telangana CID against OM group and others for raising funds of around Rs 300 crore from foreign donors in the name of providing free education and meals to Dalit and downtrodden children, studying in more than 100 Good Shepherd Schools run by them, and diverting the said funds for asset creation and other unauthorised purposes.

OM group raised funds through Operation Mobilisation and Dalit Freedom Network based in USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Argentina, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Romania, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.

OM Group of Charities India, a Hyderabad-based Christian charity organisation was initially founded in the mid-1960s by missionaries of OM International, having charitable activities around 110 countries. OM India established offices, training centres and other facilities with donations in Jeedimetla.

After a few years, the Indian promoters snapped ties with the international organisation and were running it as an independent entity.

In 2016, the CID registered a case following a complaint from Gorwipaga Albert Lael, who worked as chief financial officer for OM India Group of Charities, against Joseph D’Souza, chief functionary, alleging mass embezzlement of public funds.

CID investigation revealed that suppressing the fact of sponsorship of students, tuition and other fees ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per month were collected from the students and substantial funds were put into fixed deposits and/or diverted to other related entities of OM group. Funds were also received from the government under the Right to Education Act but the same were not recorded properly and other incomes were grossly under-reported in the books of accounts. After years of investigation, CID filed a charge sheet in Nampally court last August.

ED investigation also revealed FCRA registrations for most of the group entities were not renewed and to bypass the same, foreign funds received in FCRA registered ‘OM Books Foundation’ were diverted to other group entities as loans which are yet to be repaid.

PMLA investigation also revealed that office bearers of Operation Mobilisation group were employed as consultants with shell entities incorporated in Goa and were receiving salaries.

Searches at the premises of key office bearers and the head office of the OM group of charities resulted in the recovery and seizure of incriminating documents, digital devices, records of clandestine transactions, and benami companies.

Further investigation is in progress.

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Published 25 June 2024, 16:31 IST

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