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CBI books two NGOs for violating FCRA rules in 2010

VIJAYAWADA: An NGO in Vijayawada and another in Visakhapatnam are under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly violating regulations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.

A case has been registered against the representatives of the two NGOs under various Sections of IPC after raids in various States including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu were held.

Officials of the CBI-Delhi branch questioned 36 persons on the allegations of conspiracy with promoters pertaining to registration and renewal of FCRA licenses. Of them, seven were employees of the FCRA division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Raids were conducted at 40 places including the office of an NGO, Harvest India, at Seetharampuram in Vijayawada owned by Kathera Suresh Kumar, and Christian Life Centre Ministries (CLC) in Visakhapatnam being run by one Alfred Mohanty.

In the FIR registered on Wednesday, the CBI said, “An information was received that some officers of the FCRA division in conspiracy with the promoters/representatives of various NGOs, middlemen and public servants impersonating as officers posted in the FCRA Division are indulging in corrupt practices to obtain bribe from NGOs for facilitating them with registration and renewal of licenses.”

During the probe it was revealed that Kathera Suresh Kumar of Harvest India gave a bribe of Rs 4 lakh to one Ravi Shankar Ambastha for revoking its suspension and renewing the FCRA license.

“Suresh Kumar agreed to pay a total sum of Rs 8 lakh to process his file and on April 22, Ambastha, who introduced himself as superintendent of the FCRA division, visited Vijayawada and took Rs 4 lakh from Suresh as first installment. Later, fake FCRA officials demanded Rs 7 lakh from another NGO, Indian Christian Ministries, in Prakasam district for getting a clearance,” CBI officials explained.

In September-2021, the MHA had suspended Harvest India’s foreign funding licence for violating the FCRA-2010.

Suresh Kumar was accused of “fraudulently misrepresenting” himself as a Christian Bishop and running an “evangelical” NGO ‘Harvest India’ and collecting millions from citizens of the US, UK, Europe and other countries. Suresh’s wife, Henry Christina is the chairperson of the Guntur Zilla Parishad from YSRC.

In Vizag, CBI officials questioned Mohanty and seized documents related to foreign funds and its expenditure. “On April 2, Ambastha contacted Mohanty and demanded a bribe to issue a NOC on the pending complaints against the NGO in Chilakaluripet, AMG India International. They both met in Hyderabad on April 16 when Mohanty accepted to pay Rs 15 lakh to Ambastha,” the FIR reported.