15-day breather to political parties to explain foreign funds


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given 15 days more time, till May 30, to the political parties to furnish the details on foreign funds received by them since 2010-11.

The FCRA division of the MHA, that keeps a check on the foreign funds received by associations/ NGOs/ political parties allowed more time to the political parties, mainly the BJP, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), after they failed to furnish details and sought more time.

Earlier, the MHA, in separate communications, had asked the political parties to submit details of their sources of funding, including those from abroad or foreign business enterprises, by May 16. It had clarified that it was routine exercise undertaken by the ministry every year to ascertain whether they violated provisions of the FCRA.

However, not willing to take MHA’s explanation on the face value, AAP on Wednesday again accused the BJP government of indulging in witch-hunting.

AAP’s senior leader Atishi Marlena insisted that AAP’s funding was clean and it was stated to the Delhi High Court by none other than the MHA in 2014 and 2015.

She alleged that the BJP government had attempted to retrospectively amend the FCRA in 2016 so as to overturn the court’s decision against them.

“The FCRA was amended through the backdoor by introducing it as money bill by the BJP last year, shielding it from a Rajya Sabha veto. The amendment changed the meaning of foreign sources in a manner that would legalise donations made by Vedanta to both the Congress and the BJP,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this retrospective protection only makes valid donations made after 2010. The donations received by both from Vedanta from 2004 to 2010 continue to be illegal, and the Ministry must take action against them,” Marlena said.

…& ANALYSIS

  • Official sources state these were “not show-cause notices”. If such a necessity arises, the decision would be taken only after receiving replies from the parties.
  • The AAP had alleged that the Central government’s move was a clear case of “political witch-hunt”.

Source