New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party has criticised the proposed change in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on the ground that it seeks to bail out the BJP and Congress from facing imminent action for having accepted foreign funds.
Noting that the FCRA amendment has been proposed with retrospective effect in the Finance Bill, which was moved by Jaitley on February 29, the party has called for its immediate withdrawal.
The Wire had first reported how the Narendra Modi government had quietly moved the “clever amendment” in the Finance Bill which read:
“In the Foreign Contribution(Regulation) Act 2010, in section 2, in sub section(1), in clause (j), in sub-clause(vi), the following proviso shall be inserted with effect from 26 September, 2010, namely:–
‘Provided that where the nominal value of share capital is within the limits specified for foreign investments under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, or the rules and regulations made thereunder, then, notwithstanding the nominal value of the share capital of a company being more than one half of such value at the time of making the contribution, such company shall not be deemed a foreign source’.”
Acknowledging the role of media in exposing the amendment, the AAP termed the changes to the FCRA “illegal and a clear attempt to subvert justice, since the Delhi High Court had in March 2014 held both the BJP and Congress guilty of having accepted foreign funds.”
Further, it said, the Supreme Court has so far refused to stay the Delhi High Court judgment, even two years after the BJP and Congress were found guilty of having taken foreign funds.
“Jaitley’s desperate move to quietly amend the FCRA is one of the worst examples of political opportunism, which is clearly aimed at saving the BJP and Congress from the action sought against these two parties by the Election Commission.”
The EC had written to the Union home ministry in June last year seeking action under the relevant provisions of the FCRA against the BJP and Congress for having accepted crores of rupees as funds from subsidiaries of the London-based Vedanta Group, the party said in a statement.
Seeing a secret pact between the Congress and the BJP on this issue, the AAP alleged that not only did the MHA keep sitting on the EC letter for almost a year, the Modi government “has now broken all records of political impropriety by having struck a deal with the Congress to allow both the BJP and Congress escape the law through an unethical amendment.”
“It is extremely shocking that Jaitley is trying to change the definition of a foreign company to bail out his own political party. This development will encourage black money in politics and will further harm the country’s democracy if this FCRA amendment is allowed to be passed in parliament,” said AAP, appealing to all non-BJP, non-Congress parties to ensure the defeat of this amendment in Parliament and to “expose the unholy nexus of these two parties, which do not want transparency in political funding.”