As a fallout of the renewal of the Foreign Funding Licence to the Islamic Research Foundation managed by controversial preacher Zakir Naik, the Ministry of Home Affairs  (MHA) is now going to introduce two more layers of security by seeking the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing’s (R&AW) comments before renewing the licence of an NGO receiving foreign funds. Ministry sources said that until now, the renewal of licence of an NGO receiving foreign funds was done by the Foreigners’ division of the MHA, which was primarily a formality and involved checking the documents submitted by the NGO seeking licence or its renewal.

“Now we are going to make it mandatory for NGOs to get a security clearance of the IB and R&AW before seeking such permission. If we get a negative report, we will ask the NGO to present their case before us before deciding whether to allow foreign funding or not. The mandate for the IB and R&AW will be on the lines of what they are required to do when it comes to clearing a foreign direct investment proposal,” a ministry official familiar with the development said.

The intelligence agencies, according to officials, will check the antecedents of the founders and promoters of the NGO and the source of funding and whether the donation money is being used for the purpose they were meant for. “In the past, many big NGOs like Greenpeace and Amnesty, too, came under our radar for misusing donation money. Many NGOs working for the ‘minority cause’ too have been found to be misusing foreign funding,” the official added.

Earlier, the MHA had suspended four ministry officials, including the department joint secretary G.K. Dwivedi, over renewal of licence to IRF despite at least 30 “adverse” comments being found against it by the FCRA in June 2014. However, these adverse comments were dismissed by MHA officials.

Officials said the “mistakes” made by officials were now rectified and the NGO has now been put under the “prior permission category”. The foreign donation of firms, falling under this category, cannot be released by the Reserve Bank of India before seeking the MHA’s clearance.

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