The Centre for Policy Research, a think tank and the Indian arm of global NGO Oxfam, said on Friday that they comply with domestic laws and have extended all cooperation to income tax authorities investigating their premises this week as part of the FCRA investigation.
The tax department launched an investigation on Sept. 7 against about half a dozen such organisations in the country, and sources close to PTI said tax officials looked at their balance sheets, as well as through the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). received funds. .
Analysis of the documents is continuing and the department may question some of the groups’ executives in the coming days, the sources said.
“The Income Tax Department visited our company from September 7th to 8th to investigate CPR. During the investigation, we have fully cooperated with the department and will continue to cooperate in the future.
“We uphold the highest compliance standards and believe we have done nothing wrong. We are committed to working with the authorities to resolve any issues they may have,” the Delhi-based think tank said in a statement.
President and CEO Yamini Aiyar said the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) remained “committed to providing rigorous research for policy making in India”. By law, all NGOs that receive foreign funding must be registered under the FCRA.
Over the past five years, the government has cancelled the FCRA registration of nearly 1,900 NGOs, citing violations of various provisions of the law. At the end of December 2021, there were 22,762 FCRA registered organisations.
Oxfam also issued a statement saying it was a “law-abiding and community-focused” organisation.
It said officials conducted an “investigation” at Oxfam India’s Delhi office from noon on September 7 to the early hours of September 9.
“During these more than 35 hours of uninterrupted investigation, Oxfam India team members were not allowed to leave the site; the internet was shut down and all mobile phones were confiscated.
“The Income Tax Investigation Team took hundreds of pages of data related to Oxfam India’s finances and plans. They also obtained all the data by cloning Oxfam India servers and the personal mobile phones of senior leadership teams and finance chiefs,” Oxfam said. can speak.
The team conducting the investigation was polite and professional; it said an investigation process with such broad powers and scope had led to “disappointing” Oxfam India.
A spokesman said Oxfam “complies” with Indian law and has filed all statutory compliance documents, including income tax and FCRA returns, in a timely manner since its inception.
“This income tax investigation was conducted without giving a reason. Oxfam has cooperated with the income tax authority during this investigation and is committed to doing so in the future,” it said.
In January 2022, “we also conducted a detailed week-long audit of the FCRA accounts by auditors appointed by the FCRA department,” Oxfam added.
“We are guided by the principles of creating lasting solutions to address poverty and injustice, leaving no one behind, ending discrimination and creating a free and just society. Oxfam India believes that this is our constitutional duty as an organization, no matter the path obstacles and obstacles,” it said.
The past eight months have been painful for Oxfam India. In December 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused to renew the FCRA licence. Despite this, Oxfam India is conducting one of the largest civil society responses to the Covid crisis in 16 Indian states, Oxfam said.
It said that the IT investigation and the MHA’s refusal to renew Oxfam India’s FCRA registration will not diminish our commitment to serving disadvantaged communities in the country and upholding the values enshrined in the Indian constitution.
(Apart from the title, this story was unedited by NDTV staff and was posted from a syndicated feed.)