<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Red faced over renewal of foreign contribution licences to three in question NGOs – Greenpeace India and Sabrang Trust whose licences were cancelled and Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP) that was under prior permission list – the union home ministry has asked Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to find out if the online renewal system was hacked or compromised. The ministry came to know about the renewals recently that licences of all the three NGOs were renewed in the first week of August and predated renewal of televangelist Zakir Naik’s now banned NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) that had come to the light on the admission of IRF officials under the very nose of higher officials. The blunder had led to removal of the then joint secretary, G K Dwivedi and suspension of three junior officials.The ministry noticed renewal of licence of Greenpeace India and Sabrang Trust on November 9, 2016 and of CJP on this Tuesday.The ministry has passed an express order declaring all the three renewals as null and void.Greenpeace India’s licence was cancelled by home ministry’s order on September 2, 2014 on grounds of “prejudicially affecting public interest and economic interest” of the Indian state. Similarly, after suspending the licence of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust in September last year for six months, the ministry had cancelled it in June this year. Setlavad’s another NGO CJP was put under prior permission in July last year for misusing funds. Top officials of the ministry are not ruling out foul play by internal officials in the FCRA cell of the foreigner division.“There is possibility that officials below the level of Under Secretary were involved. It will be probed through an internal inquiry and guilty will be punished,” said the official.“We have also ordered re-vetting of all the 13,000 odd NGOs whose licences were renewed before March 31 and then later on October 31. There is likelihood that licences of more such in question NGOs were renewed,” the source added.Conceding the revelation renewal of licences of three more NGOs other than Naik’s IRF has struck them like a bolt, official said the ministry is looking at overhauling the whole system of renewal and make it fool proof so that such lapses don’t pass without the knowledge of joint secretary level officer.“We have asked the national informatics centre (NIC) to make the online system more secure by making the red flagged NGOs as read only file for all the officials below the level of joint secretary officials. This would allow only the joint secretary to give nod for the renewal of red flagged NGOs,” said sources.Source clarified that licence renewal goof up has nothing to with the transferring of additional secretary of foreigner division, Bipin Mallick to disaster management, as the renewal of licences was neither in his nor in joint secretary’s domain.“It is not the job of a joint secretary or an additional secretary to vet the details of nearly 33,000 NGOs. This is done and vetted by officials below under secretary level and below,” said the source.

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Renewal of cancelled licences of three NGOs leaves home ministry red faced