Bitter fight between two civil servants in MHA over Teesta Setalvad’s missing files

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Two senior bureaucrats in Narendra Modi government have got embroiled in a bitter fight with both alleging each other of corruption.

teestaThis came after the CBI registered a corruption case against Home Ministry Under Secretary Anand Joshi on Monday.

Joshi, who was also accused of being in illegal possession of a file relating to actions under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) against activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust, has launched a blistering attack against civil servants within Home Ministry.

He has now accused his seniors of targeting him because he “refused to go soft” on donor agency Ford Foundation.

“I was offered around Rs 200-250 crore to remove Ford Foundation from a blacklist. When I refused, the organisation lodged a complaint with the PMO. Officers in my department, such as Additional Secretary B K Prasad, began pressuring me to give a clean chit to Ford Foundation. When I refused, all these allegations of corruption were levelled against me. I never removed the file on Sabrang Trust either,” Joshi told The Indian Express.

B K Prasad, for his part, told IE, “He (Joshi) is talking rubbish. This is a matter of CBI investigation. The truth will come out.”

Prasad is the officer inquiring how certain documents in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case went missing from the Ministry.

While booking Joshi, the CBI, in a statement, said that he “had been indulging in corrupt activities and arbitrarily issuing notices to large number of NGOs/Societies registered under FCRA who had been receiving significant amount of foreign contribution.”

Joshi, the CBI said, “allegedly demanded and obtained illegal gratification from some of these organisations, which were laundered through various immovable assets as well as certain private companies.”

In April last year, the MHA had put Ford Foundation on the list of prior permission citing risk to national security. It meant that any funds being received from Ford Foundation to an Indian NGO/charity needed to be cleared by the MHA first.

However, in March this year, the government removed Ford Foundation from the ‘prior permission’ list.

Teesta Setalwad’s Sabrang Trust, meanwhile, issued a statement expressing satisfaction over the discovery of missing files to alleged FCRA violations.

Questioning how the files related to Sabrang had landed in Joshi’s possession, the statement from Sabrang said, “The trustees of Sabrang Trust are relieved to note from news reports in the media that certain files pertaining to the Trust which had gone missing from the FCRA department have been recovered,

“Sabrang Trust hopes that these are the files which have all the detailed responses and documents it had given to the MHA to support its claims that there were no FCRA violations and that the ‘Order’ of the FCRA department dated September 9, 2015 to suspend the FCRA registration had been arrived at in an arbitrary manner without application of mind.”

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