SM Fasiullah & Afroz Alam Sahil for BeyondHeadlines
India’s leading political player, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received donation from an international firm and violated government rules on foreign funding. There are other political parties in the fray who are alleged of having been received foreign funds, but more details are yet to be ascertained.
However, a document in possession of BeyondHeadlines clearly indicates that BJP has received funding from a US based company named ‘Dow Chemical’, which is not registered in India.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs through its FCRA Department submitted an affidavit on 12 March 2013 regarding foreign donations to various political parties including BJP.
The affidavit revealed Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd. is a foreign firm and a foreign source in terms of provisions of FCRA 2010 as 99.99% of its shares are held by M/s Dow Chemical Pacific (Singapore) Pte Ltd and 0.01% of shares are held by Dow Chemical (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
Through an RTI filed by Afroz Alam Sahil, the fact came to light in 2010 that Dow Chemical had donated an amount of Rs 1 lakh to BJP during 2006-2007 through CitiBank Draft no 9189. The revelation then became international news headlines.
Following this disclosure, the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh (MP) even requested the Election Commission of India to cancel the registration of the BJP. MP Congress leader Jamuna Devi told the press that BJP violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 1976 by accepting donation from Dow Chemical.
The ministry affidavit that confirmed Dow Chemical to be a foreign firm noted: “The matter of receipt of donations from foreign companies/foreign sources by Political Parties is under consideration at the Ministry of Home Affairs and due action would be taken on the basis of the examination and findings thereof.”
Three years have passed since the RTI disclosure and a year since ministry filed its affidavit on the matter, but no action seems to have been taken in this regard or no news of any action taken has come in the media. Is Congress trying to protect BPJ or has they reached any under-table agreement to safeguard each other’s vested interests?
Meanwhile, BeyondHeadlines filed a new RTI application with the ministry. The latest RTI filed on 27 February 2014, sought information about:
1. Details of the rules and proceedings taken if a party is found taking donations from foreign sources. Rules of FCRA for actions to be taken if a political party is found indulging in violation of rules.
2. Action taken against BJP specifically and other political parties.
3. Documents containing various steps taken by Union Ministry of Home Affairs with regard to this foreign funding.
4. Details of foreign funding received by Aam Aadmi Party from its inception till the date of the reply of this RTI application.