Gujarat politicians and their allies try to smear the Narmada Bachao campaign
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, JULY 7,2006
NEW DELHI, July 7: The activities of Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) ~ spearheading the campaign against Sardar Sarovar Project ~ today came under judicial scanner with the Supreme Court issuing notice to it in response to an allegation that it was availing itself of foreign funds illegally.
Acting on a PIL filed by Ahmedabad-based National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), a Bench of Chief Justice Mr YK Sabharwal and Mr Justice CK Thakker also issued notices to the Centre, states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and NBA activist Mr Rahul Banerjee. The NGO’s is seeking a CBI probe into the alleged illegal activities of NBA. The court, however, did not issue notices to Patkar and CBI at this stage.
The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Anil Dave, accused the NBA of acting at the behest of foreign powers and creating political instability in the country on the strength of foreign funds.
He requested the court to examine how the NBA was getting foreign funds without even getting itself registered. It was a violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), Mr Dave told the Bench.
As per the court’s earlier direction, the petitioner produced several documents to point out the alleged involvement of the NBA in illegal activities, including attack on government officials and setting up of parallel courts. Mr Banerjee was facing charges of sedition in Devas, Mr Dave said.
He said police had arrested Mr Banerjee and the computer and other documents seized from him showed that he had received $42,000 dollars from the MCArthur Foundation of USA and Oxfam, UK.
According to the information yielded by the computer, the NBA was also getting foreign funds from the Right Livelihood Foundation and the Goldman Foundation.