The home ministry on Wednesday asked the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to examine the suspected hacking of its website after the previously cancelled Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of three NGOs were renewed online.
They have since been cancelled.
The three NGOs are: Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), and Sabrang Trust, both run by activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand; and Greenpeace India.
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The home ministry had permanently cancelled Greenpeace India’s licence under FCRA (a must to receive foreign contributions) last year. It cancelled Sabrang’s licence in June and put CJP on a so-called prior permission list which meant the NGO has to seek permission from the ministry before receiving a contribution.
All three licences were renewed in August.
Greenpeace India, which had received a five-year renewal, was given intimation of cancellation of its order on 23 November, although the order has not yet been uploaded on the MHA’s FCRA page. It has however been challenged by the NGO in the Madras High Court that has stayed the cancellation order.
Sabrang Trust and CJP are yet to receive notice of the cancellation. The MHA website however hosts two separate orders dated 13 December that state that the renewed licences granted to them stand revoked—implying that they no longer have a licence to receive foreign funds.
The home ministry was left red-faced in September when it emerged that it had similarly “automatically" renewed the licence of an NGO run by controversial preacher Zakir Naik which was being investigated by it.