As the call for an ED investigation gains momentum, the letter from MP Raghu Ramakrishna Raju adds political weight to the demand for a thorough examination of the foreign fund transactions by the Tuticorin-based NGOs. The outcome of the proposed investigation will be closely monitored by various stakeholders concerned about financial transparency and accountability in the non-profit sector.
The NGOs in question, Tuticorin Diocesan Association (TDA) and Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS), have reportedly continued to receive foreign funds despite the suspension/cancellation of their Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration and the freezing of their bank accounts by the Central government.
In his communication dated December 7, MP Raghu Ramakrishna Raju drew Home Minister Amit Shah’s attention to the matter, emphasising the need for an ED probe. The MP cited information from the NGO Dharpan portal maintained by NITI Aayog, indicating that both NGOs were still receiving foreign funds in their designated FCRA bank accounts, which were supposed to be frozen.
The letter includes details obtained from the NGO Darpan portal, underscoring the alleged violations despite the freezing of accounts. MP Kanumuru expressed concern over the Tuticorin Diocesan Association’s reported transfer of foreign funds to another account with Syndicate Bank in Tuticorin after the suspension and cancellation of its FCRA licence.
Furthermore, the MP highlighted that approximately Rs. 1,25,00,000 from foreign funds were purportedly transferred to construction companies from TDA’s foreign bank account post the cancellation of its FCRA licence. He called for a thorough investigation into the reasons behind such transfers.
MP Raghu Ramakrishna Raju underscored the seriousness of the allegations, noting that the freezing of accounts and cancellation of licences were initially done due to concerns about NGOs utilising foreign funds for anti-national activities. He argued that while the receipt of funds was a serious violation, the reported utilisation raised even more serious questions, warranting a comprehensive investigation by relevant authorities.
The Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF), which had previously written to the Home Ministry requesting a probe, hailed MP Raghu Ramakrishna Raju’s letter on social media. LRPF emphasised the alleged large-scale violation of FCRA rules and misuse of foreign funds by Tuticorin Diocesan Association and its associated NGO.
In a most significant move, the Hon'ble MP of Narasapuram Lok Sabha Constituency Sri Raghu Ramakrishna Raju wrote to Sri Amit Shah and Home Secretary for action against large scale violation of FCRA rules & misuse of foreign funds by Tuticorin Diocesan Association & its ally NGO pic.twitter.com/wy8gJbXFAV
— Legal Rights Protection Forum (@lawinforce) December 7, 2023
The Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) has submitted formal complaints to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Ministry of Home Affairs, accusing Tuticorin Diocesan Association (076030031) of fund misuse and diversion in violation of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) rules. LRPF has also raised concerns about ‘Jesus Redeems,’ a Tuticorin-based Christian NGO led by Mohan C Lazarus, alleging serious violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) provisions.
LRPF’s complaint against ‘Jesus Redeems’ highlights the organization’s involvement in court cases related to religious proselytization activities and anti-Hindu statements, leading to disruptions in communal harmony. Several FIRs have been registered against Lazarus in Tamil Nadu under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Notably, the Regional Passport Officer declined to issue a new passport to Lazarus for intentionally suppressing information about pending criminal cases.
The complaint exposes a complex network of foreign donations, indicating substantial contributions from Compassion International (USA) to ‘Jesus Redeems’ through Caruna Bal Vikas, an NGO based in Chennai. LRPF’s documents also reveal a foreign contribution of Rs 6,21,274 from BRO Devakumar VG Edwin, the Managing Director of DANGOTE Group, Nigeria, which has connections with a Chinese state-owned company, Sinoma International Engineering Co. Ltd. This link raises concerns about potential foreign influence, especially in light of recent arrests tied to Chinese propaganda funding.
LRPF emphasises the need for a thorough investigation into these allegations, shedding light on potential FCRA violations and connections that may compromise national security. The complaints underscore a broader concern about the activities of certain Christian NGOs and their use of foreign funds. Calls for a comprehensive probe into such organisations have gained traction, signalling a growing scrutiny of their financial transactions and potential implications for the nation’s security.