A Home Ministry official, who was arrested by CBI for allegedly issuing FCRA notices arbitrarily to several NGOs for financial gains, was on Wednesday placed under suspension. Anand Joshi, an Under Secretary in the ministry, has been suspended by the Home Ministry with immediate effect following his arrest by the CBI, official sources said.
Joshi, who had disappeared last week from his home in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, was picked up from Tilak Nagar area of West Delhi on Sunday and taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning. Subsequently, he was arrested by the agency.
The case was slapped against Joshi and some other unnamed persons for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices and arbitrarily issuing notices to several NGOs, registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which were receiving foreign contributions, including activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust.
Joshi has rejected the charge and instead accused his senior, Additional Secretary B K Prasad, of pressuring him to give a clean chit to NGOs. Prasad, however, denied the charges.
The matter came to light after files pertaining to alleged FCRA violations by two NGOs run by Setalvad went missing from the Home Ministry. The files were traced and restored to the FCRA division but CBI was asked to investigate the matter. It was noticed that the files had gone missing when the Home Ministry took a decision to cancel FCRA registration of one of Setalvad’s NGOs, Sabrang Trust, the sources said.
Sabrang Trust’s licence was suspended on September 9, 2015 by MHA for alleged multiple violations of FCRA rules, including misuse of funds for personal benefit of trustees. When Home Ministry officials found that the files had gone missing, they conducted an inquiry and identified Joshi as the official who had taken away the files. He was summoned and the files were restored.
An Under Secretary is not allowed to take away files and only officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above are allowed to take the files home.