The Enforcement Directorate has attached movable properties – worth Rs 17.66 crore – of the global human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International, which had last year claimed that it was winding down its India operation because of alleged “witch-hunt” by the central government. The action was taken as part of a money laundering probe against the non-profit.
The central government says that the global rights watchdog had been receiving foreign funds illegally and that it had never registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
The government has raided the Amnesty India’s premises several times in the last few years.
Last year, after the Centre had frozen its account, Amnesty India accused it of launching a “witch-hunt” over some critical reports.
In a press statement, Amnesty had said: “…the complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt.” The organisation said it had been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work.
“This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations,” Amnesty had said, claiming that it had complied with all Indian and international laws.
The Centre, reacting to the group’s allegation, had said that human rights cannot be an excuse to defy the law of the land.
“All the glossy statements about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their activities which were in clear contravention of laid down Indian laws. Such statements are also an attempt to extraneously influence the course of investigations by multiple agencies into the irregularities and illegalities carried out over the last few years,” the government had stated.