New Delhi: Searches by the Income Tax Department are underway at Delhi-based independent thinktank Centre for Policy Research. The action is “connected to” simultaneous raids in Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among other places, “over funding of more than 20 registered but non-recognised political parties”, sources have so far told NDTV. No response has yet been received from the CPR.
Once headed by academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent critic of the BJP government, the CPR governing board is at present chaired by Meenakshi Gopinath, a political scientist who taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University and was principal of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi. The president and chief executive is Yamini Aiyar. Members of the board include former foreign secretary Shyam Saran and IIM professor Rama Bijapurkar.
About funding, the thinktank says on its website that being recognised as a not-for-profit society by the Government of India, contributions to it are tax-exempt. “CPR receives grants from a variety of domestic and international sources, including foundations, corporate philanthropy, governments, and multilateral agencies,” it says, adding that “a full accounting of annual finances and grants” is available on the website.
Established in 1973, it describes itself as “a non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.
“Asking the relevant questions” is one of its stated goals.
As for the alleged connection with illicit funding of political parties, it’s worth context here that, as per latest data from last year, India has 2,858 parties that have registered themselves with the Election Commission of India, of which 2,796 unrecognised, meaning they have not fulfilled minimum criteria to have independent recognition.