The complaint, dated December 2, 2023, filed by Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) goes into detail about the purported connection between DARP and banned LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) Terror Funding.
The LRPF complaint identifies key members of DARP’s Board of Trustees, including Jagat Gaspar Raj Mariapaulian, the Treasurer closely linked to the DMK and Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi. Other trustees mentioned are Shanthi Ravikumar, Raeshma Jegath, M S Albert Leenus (President), and Wilsto Dhaspin (Secretary). The organisation claims to focus on various social issues, including poverty alleviation, agriculture, civic matters, education, literacy, labor, employment, art, culture, assistance for differently-abled individuals, and vocational activities. DARP is located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, with the NGO Darpan ID TN/2019/0223559.
The LRPF complaint brings attention to an indictment against Jagath Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian, also known as Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, the Treasurer of DARP. Issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to the Court of the Eastern District of New York on August 18, 2006, the indictment outlines serious charges related to LTTE Terror Funding. The LRPF, in their complaint, includes detailed observations from the FBI, accusing Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian and others of facilitating LTTE projects and acting as intermediaries between LTTE supporters globally and Sri Lankan leadership.
Beyond the LTTE-related allegations, the LRPF expresses concerns regarding foreign contributions received by DARP from 2013 to 2021, amounting to over Rs13 lakh. The NGO’s lack of online presence raises questions about transparency and accessibility of information regarding its activities.
The LRPF complaint also highlights the utilisation of funds, alleging that foreign funds received into DARP’s FCRA-designated bank account are directly utilised without being transferred to the Utilisation Account. Notably, these funds are allegedly transferred directly to individuals and entities from the FCRA receipt account. Moreover, the LRPF claims that foreign funds received are being transferred to the bank account of the YouTube Channel named ‘Tamil Niram,’ known for its support of the banned LTTE and propagation of anti-government content.
In light of these alleged violations, the LRPF calls for the immediate suspension of DARP’s FCRA licence and requests the case be referred to the Enforcement Directorate for further investigation and necessary action. The LRPF asserts that the activities of Gaspar Raj Maria Paulian could potentially affect friendly relations with foreign states, citing relevant provisions under section 12(4)(a)(vi) of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.
Jegath Gaspar Raj, in addition to his role at DARP, has previously stirred controversy by instigating Muslims to demand a separate electorate and sovereign territory while running the NGO Tamil Maiyam. This organisation has been involved in the Keezhadi excavations, allegedly aiming to establish the notion of a “Dravidian civilization” for separatist purposes.
The year-wise foreign contributions received by the Development Activities for Rural People from 2013-2021 is tabulated below :
In view of the severity of the allegations and their potential impact on foreign relations, the LRPF has called for the immediate suspension of DARP’s FCRA licence. The LPRF urges authorities to refer the case to the ED for further investigation and necessary action.