The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday conducted searches at the premises of Aman Biradari, an NGO founded by writer and human rights activist Harsh Mander, and his residence, in connection with a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
CBI registers case against NGO and Mander
The CBI registered a case against Aman Biradari and Mander for allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA, following a complaint by the Union Home Ministry. The agency also questioned several people related to the case, sources said.
According to the CBI, the NGO received foreign funds without obtaining prior permission from the central government, as required under the FCRA. The NGO also allegedly diverted the funds for purposes other than those specified in the application.
The CBI also alleged that the NGO and Mander failed to submit annual returns and other documents to the authorities, and did not maintain proper accounts and records of the foreign funds received and utilised.
Mander is a former NAC member and a vocal critic of the government
Mander, who is the founder of Aman Biradari, is a former member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi during the previous UPA government. He is also a former civil servant and a columnist.
Mander has been a vocal critic of the current government and its policies, especially on the issues of communal violence, citizenship laws, farmers’ protests, and human rights violations. He has also filed several petitions in the Supreme Court and other courts, challenging the government’s actions and seeking relief for the affected people.
Mander has also been involved in various social and humanitarian causes, such as providing relief to the victims of the Gujarat riots, the Kashmir floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also been working for the welfare of the homeless, the migrants, the children, and the minorities.
ED had also raided Mander’s premises in September 2021
This is not the first time that Mander and his NGO have faced action from the central agencies. In September 2021, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also raided the premises linked to Mander in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
The ED had claimed that the raids were conducted at his residence, office, and a children’s home run by him in the city, based on a Delhi Police FIR against his other NGO, Centre for Equity Studies (CES), for criminal breach of trust.
The ED had alleged that Mander and CES had received foreign funds from various sources, and had used them for personal benefits and anti-national activities. The ED had also accused Mander of being involved in a conspiracy to incite violence and riots in Delhi in February 2020.
Mander had denied the allegations and said that he was being targeted for his dissenting views and his work for the marginalized sections of the society.