Finance Bill 2018

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Finance Bill Amends FCRA Again to Condone Illegal Donations to BJP, Congress from Foreign Companies - The Wire

The Modi government is using Budget 2018 to once again give the BJP and Congress a get-out-of-jail card for having illegally accepted funding from foreign companies.

The parties will get a free pass for violations of the law going back 40 years.

In 2016, as The Wire reported, finance minister Arun Jaitley inserted a surreptitious amendment in that year’s finance bill which shielded both political parties from having violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 (FCRA) when they accepted donations from London-based multinational Vedanta.

The amendment was a thinly disguised attempt to overturn a 2014 Delhi high court order that found both the Congress and BJP guilty of violating the FCRA and ordered the government and Election Commission to act against them.

The move came even as the government was cracking down on NGOs for allegedly violating the FCRA, freezing the bank accounts of Greenpeace and Citizens for Justice and Peace and even instituting criminal proceedings against the anti-communal activist Teesta Setalvad.