The CBI has charged a certain home ministry undersecretary who had been dismissed from his services on alleged corruption charges and possession of the Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust files. The said official was dealing with foreign funded NGOs and now has been booked by the investigative agency under the Prevention of Corruption Act and relevant sections of the IPC.
An inquiry into Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act found that Anand Joshi in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had indulged in malpractices. Teesta Setalvad is fighting for the survivors of 2002 Gujarat riots and facing charges for embezzlement of funds.
Joshi issued FCRA notices to NGOs which were receiving foreign monetary help. The disclosure came out after files relating to Setalvad’s two NGOs were misplaced. The files were found and were given back to the department later. Nevertheless, the CBI was asked to examine the situation.
“The MHA could not trace the Sabrang Trust file around March, and the undersecretary was an obvious suspect. That was when officials of the FCRA division chased him and threatened him into handing back the file,” a ministry official told the news agencies.
“The accused allegedly obtained bribe from some of these organisations through immovable assets and certain private companies,” official sources told the Press Trust of India. The CBI had conducted searches in four locations owned by Joshi, the source added.
He was found having possession of unexplained belongings. “Rs. 7.5 lakh in cash and incriminating documents, including files pertaining to MHA and I&B [information and broadcasting] ministries” were found from different places.
An undersecretary can’t take files house; only a joint secretary and officials with a higher position can do so, an official told the PTI. But, Joshi had taken the documents far from the offices of the FCRA division.
The nonappearance of the files became a bigger matter after the MHA thought to withdraw the licence of one of the NGOs, Sabrang Trust, run by Setalvad.