Research by the Income Tax Department is ongoing at the Delhi-based independent think tank, the Center for Policy Research. The action is ‘linked to’ simultaneous raids in Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among others, ‘on the funding of more than 20 registered but unrecognized political parties’, sources have so far told NDTV. No response has yet been received from the CPR.
Formerly headed by Academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent critic of the BJP government, the CPR Board is currently chaired by Meenakshi Gopinath, a political scientist who taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University and served as Principal of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi. The President and CEO is Yamini Aiyar. Board members include former foreign minister Shyam Saran and IIM professor Rama Bijapurkar.
Regarding the funding, the think tank says on its website that being recognized as a not-for-profit corporation by the Indian government, contributions to it are tax exempt. “The CPR receives grants from a variety of national and international sources, including foundations, philanthropic societies, governments and multilateral agencies,” it says, adding that a “full accounting of annual finances and grants” is available on the website.
Founded in 1973, it describes itself as “a nonpartisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high-quality research, better policies, and stronger public discourse on issues that impact the life in India”.
“Asking the right questions” is one of its stated goals.
Regarding the alleged link with illicit funding of political parties, it is worth recalling here that according to the latest data from last year, India has 2,858 parties that have registered with the Election Commission of India, including 2,796 unrecognized, meaning they did not meet the minimum criteria for independent recognition.