By Sushil BatraNew Delhi [India], February 17 (ANI): A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Centre to formulate appropriate guidelines/policies for the procedure of fund-raising for organizations and to ensure a continuous regulation for the working of such fund-raising platforms along with enforceable penalties in the event of violation of those guidelines.
The petition claims that various frauds and scams are being undertaken by multiple organisations that turned the unfortunate and unprecedented situation of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak into an opportunity to dupe the hard-earned money of common people and laundered the same to promote anti-social activities such as terrorism.
The petitioner Mohammad Ashfaq Hussain, Chairman of the All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam (an organization of Bareilvi- Sunni Muslims) claims that some Pakistan-linked ‘Charity’ Organizations started collecting funds in name of helping India in the COVID crisis and after collecting millions of dollars a few of them came together and sent only pennies in the name of help. The money collected in an actual sense went to financing terror or to the Pakistan army and even to Islamists and Hamas- apart from the pocket money to the charities.
Advocate Siddharth Acharya, counsel for the petitioner states that there are various instances of blatant transgression committed by these online fundraising organizations which took advantage of all the donations received from India in the name of humanity and circulated it to terrorist organizations and groups.
Advocate Acharya further states that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Minister of External Affairs (MEA) and Minister of Health and Family Welfare must intervene and object in the commission of such gross violations by issuing penalties and punishments and also by putting on paper some strict guidelines for all such crowd-funding organizations and activities.
The petition states that the petitioner has relied on the source ‘Disinfo Lab’ a fact check organization and adds that the unfortunate and vicious scam was planned and conducted by the foreign organisations of North America from various handles operating in countries such as the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia.
Petitioner claims that several NGOs during COVID-19, raised money in the form of Zakat or donations, was not actually utilized for the well-being of the victims of COVID-19, which was their said purpose, rather they used the collected funds for funding various terrorist organizations.
It also states that the said organizations which raised the funds during the second wave of COVID-19 are false and based on the connections of these organizations with terrorist groups, it is a clear threat to national security and public order, moreover, the whole incident exploited India’s goodwill.
Petitioner seeks direction to Central Government to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate in the matter and check as to owners, place of registration, place of working, links with other countries and how the funds are used in such organizations have not been done by the social media intermediaries as in the present matter the organizations were connected to various terrorist organizations.
The petition is scheduled to be heard by the Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Friday (tomorrow). (ANI)