In a major nationwide crackdown on non-government organisations (NGOs) violating norms in receiving foreign grants, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday found Rs 2 crore in hawala transactions at 40 locations in Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur and Coimbatore, sources told CNN-News18. Over half a dozen Union Home Ministry officials, NGO representatives and middlemen were found involved in allegedly facilitating violations of rules under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. The CBI will be booking more individuals involved in the case later at night, sources said.
The CBI has arrested several government officials for allegedly taking bribes from NGOs through middlemen. The raids are still ongoing and several NGOs are under the scanner, sources said.
The raids by the central agency were conducted after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs raised suspicion of corruption in its foreign division department which deals with the FCRA clearance. The decision to alert the CBI regarding the matter was in line with the Modi government’s “zero tolerance for corruption” policy, officials said. This is the second such crackdown over corruption in the division in the last few years.
As per the complaint, bribes were paid to lower-level officials in the foreign division that deals with FCRA clearance. The middlemen took money from NGOs who were denied FCRA clearance and paid the government officials to provide them with the approved licence. So far, no senior officials were found linked with the case.