Assets worth Rs 1.54 crore of a charitable trust linked to international human rights organisation Amnesty India have been frozen under the anti-money laundering law, the Enforcement Directorate said Friday.
A provisional order for attachment of the assets has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), it said. Attaching a property means it cannot be transferred, converted or moved.
The order has been issued against Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) in connection with a case linked to alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the India arm of the global organisation.
The central agency, whose case stems from a CBI FIR against Amnesty India, issued a statement saying, the trust had tried to bypass the curbs imposed on the organisation.
The human rights group had stopped work in India two years ago, accusing the government of freezing its bank accounts as punishment for speaking out about alleged rights abuses.
Amnesty said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had blocked its accounts, forcing it to lay off its India staff after two years of fending off allegations of financial wrongdoing, which it said were baseless.
"This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organisations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations," Amnesty said in a statement, adding that the government was trying to silence its rights campaigns.
London-based Amnesty had been alleging human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as what it said was a lack of police accountability during riots in Delhi in February 2020.
In July this year, Amnesty India International Pvt. Ltd and its former CEO Aakar Patel were slapped with a penalty of Rs 51.72 crore and Rs 10 crore respectively for contravention of the foreign exchange law by the Enforcement Directorate.
Before that, in April, Mr Patel, who too accuses the government of a witch-hunt, had been stopped at an airport from flying out based on an order from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).