Gospel For Asia continues to use FCRA

In a story dated October 6, 2017, bylined strangely from Kochi, Times of India (ToI) reported the cancellation of FCRA registrations of four FCRA-NGOs associated with the global behemoth, Gospel For Asia. Readers of this blog are familiar with their names: Gospel for Asia-India (rechristened as Ayana Charitable Trust (ACT)), Believers Church India (BCI), Last Hour Ministry (LHM) and Love India Ministries (LIM). All the four are located in Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. The exact date of the FCRA cancellation is unclear. We thus surmise that it must have happened any time in the months of August-September 2017 (vide infra). We also have no idea why these FCRA registrations were cancelled.

Although ToI claimed that the Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the registration, the story is bylined Kochi and not New Delhi. It has appeared only in its Kochi edition. No other mainstream media carried the story. Imagine India’s largest FCRA-NGO conglomerate, with operations all over India, losing their FCRA registrations and the media in big cities not covering the story. Strange, no? This observation must also be seen in the light of the unusually large (even by GFA standards, #lulz) spike in remittances to these four FCRA-NGOs in the year 2015-16 and the troubles it has been facing among the faithfuls in USA who used to donate to it. Not to speak of the ongoing court case as well there. All these put together makes one wonder if the story of the cancellation (and may be the cancellation itself?) originated in New Delhi or from elsewhere within India.

Another interesting update is that Believers Church India rechristened itself as Believers Eastern Church (BEC), as per a news item dated November 04, 2017.

We write this Post in this backdrop.

So, what is new in this Post?

Part-A: Names of Chief functionaries of the four Tiruvalla FCRA-NGOs (FCRA cancelled), hitherto unknown, are now available. These will be shared.

Part-B: One may be misled into thinking that GFA has stopped remitting to FCRA-NGOs in India, post the cancellation of FCRA licence to its four primary affiliates. As we outed earlier, five FCRA-NGOs have started getting ‘donations’ from GFA (via its Limited Liability Companies). In this Post, we shall see even more FCRA-NGOs which receive ‘donations’ via the same route. We will also get to know the names of people running them. Thus, we demonstrate that even post the so-called FCRA cancellation of its primary affiliates in Tiruvalla, GFA continues to route funds into India.

NOTE: Everything that is written here is available on Indian Government websites, for anyone to view, without paying any fee. These websites are: FCRA, Darpan and MCA. Thus, this Post is just a compilation of publicly available Government data.  No opinions are passed on the individuals or the entities. These sources are gratefully acknowledged.

Part-A

After the FCRA Wing of MHA made it mandatory for NGOs to register their details (in particular, the names of their Chief Functionaries) on the Darpan portal of Niti-Aayog (we hold that Niti-Aayog is ill-fitted for this job, but that is a story for another day), the portal has been seeing quite a good number of entries. Let us get the names we have been waiting for.

FCRA-NGO (FCRA status cancelled) Chief Functionaries (via Darpan Portal)
Believers Church India Samuel Mathew, Simon John, Juria Bardhan
Ayana Charitable Trust Siny Punnoose, Simon John, Juria Bardhan, Praison John, Daniel Johnson, Samuel Mathew
Last Hour Ministry Praison John, Juria Bardhan, P S Cherian, Oommen Mathew
Love India Ministries Oommen Mathew, Samuel Mathew, Siny Punnoose, Juria Bardhan

Remarks

  1. Juria Bardhan, whose name appears in all the four (cancelled) FCRA-NGOs, appears to a Bishop of Believers Eastern Church. He was also earlier associated with the Believers Church Theological Seminary, Tiruvalla & continues to be a visiting faculty there. Interestingly, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ Companies database lists Rev. Dr. Juria Bardhan as a Director of a Sec. 25 (now Sec. 8) company called “AY Broadcasting Foundation” (AYBF) (CIN=U92132KL2005NPL018559) and holds the DIN, 00415678. Its other Directors are Thomas Varghese and Praison John. Incorporated in 2005, its address is provided as “GFA Building, Manjadi P.O., Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala”. AYBF runs the ‘Athmeeya Yatra TV’. Praison John’s name appears as one of the Chief Functionaries of ACT above. It is also interesting to read the judgement of a Kerala High Court in 2011 on whether AYBF is a ‘charitable institution’ or not, under Sec. 12AA of the Income Tax Act. The Court ruled that it was not one.
  2. Another name which appears on two of the former FCRA-NGOs listed above is Simon John. Rev. Dr. Simon John also appears to be a Bishop of Believers Eastern Church.
  3. Samuel Mathew appears thrice in the list above. He too appears to be a Bishop of BEC.
  4. The other name which repeats is Siny Punnoose. This name is also found as a Director of Believers Church Microfinance Private Limited (UCIN=U65900KL2011PTC028117) in the MCA database and it too shares the same address as AY Broadcasting Foundation (above). The other Director of BCMPL is listed as a Daniel Johnson who is also listed as a Chief Functionary of ACT (former FCRA-NGO) above.
  5. Sec. 15 of FCRA-2010 is interesting. It deals with the management of foreign contribution (FC) (including capital assets established over the years using FC) after the cancellation of FCRA registration of a NGO. Ordinarily, the District Magistrate (presumably the district in which the NGO is registered) takes over the assets created by FC. He/she can even run the operations, post FCRA cancellation. It is not clear if this option was/has-been exercised with respect to the four FCRA-NGOs associated with GFA. For organizations such as BCI whose assets are spread all over the country, it is also not clear how a DM can run the entire thing. This may actually be a bug (or a feature?) in FCRA-2010. It should also be noted that Sec. 15 applies to NGOs whose FCRA registration was cancelled and not to those whose FCRA licence was not renewed. (We thank twitter handle FCRA2010 for shedding light on this Section).
  6. An examination of the Quarterly returns filed by the four (cancelled) FCRA-NGOs confirms that the FCRA cancellation would have happened during August-September 2017 time frame (see Table 1 below).

Table 1: Foreign fund inflows to the cancelled FCRA-NGOs in the year before cancellation, based on their Quarterly returns.

Amounts in Crores of Rs.

FCRA-NGO Reg. No. Apr-Jun 2017 Jan-Mar 2017 Oct-Dec 2016 Jul-Sep 2016 Apr-Jun 2016 Jan-Mar 2016
Believers Church India KL/52930220 24.3 192.5 56.9 10.1 13.9 296.2
 Ayana Charitable Trust KL/52850064 0 N/A 0 0 0 0
Last Hour Ministry KL/52930227 0 N/A 0 0 0 0
Love India Ministries KL/52930228 0 N/A 0 0 0 0

The July-September 2017 quarterly return for any of the above NGOs is not available (N/A) and we thus surmise that the FCRA cancellation must have taken place in this period. Once again, we have no idea why it was cancelled.

PART-B

As mentioned in the Introduction, in this Section, we shall get to know of many FCRA-NGOs who have been receiving funds, not directly from GFA-Texas (or its other International affiliates), but from several of GFA’s Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) (whose existence was broken in this Indiafacts story).

Table 2: FCRA-NGOs (with FCRA in active status) which receive funds from entities related to GFA-USA.

All amounts in Rs. (INR)

FCRA-NGO Location Reg. No. 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2016-17 Unspent Past Balance 2016-17 Interest
Rehaboth Indian Gypsy New Life Trust Perumalpudur, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu TN/75850280 90005 326743890 36364604 58512728 14088376
Shekina Propetic Mission Trust Senthil Nagar, Udumalpet, Coimbatore TN/75850295 90649 327762231 39719393 91318507 15115668
New Hope Foundation Keezh Padappai, Kanchipuram, TN TN/75901313 358844 324188032 32233633 19304421 22795129
Holy Spirit Ministries Kodigehalli Main Road, KR Puram, Bengaluru KA/94421256 0 226841015 32111749 40783223 7978147
Growth in Fraternity Trust OMBR Layout, Chikkabanaswadi KA/94421319 91093 327689600 32539610 24683339 13795415
Holy Berachah Ministries Queens Road, Bengaluru KA/94421606 50000000 0 50000000 0 (Bizarre)
New Lifeline Charitable Ministries Chandigarh 160014 CH/291420068 153019 293322 48239242 46293 226174
New Life Charitable & Educational Trust Dr. Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi DL/231661079 365769 50352338 29945153 50082844 2458385
Arul Shelter Home Trust Pollachi, Coimbatore TN/75850216 91341 288486 0 295670
  1. Except for ‘New Life Charitable and Educational Trust’, all the other FCRA-NGOs in  Table 2 did not have any ‘donations’ from any organization prior to 2014-15.
  2. In one of our earlier Posts, we had shown how the first five FCRA-NGOs (Rehaboth.., Shekina .. New Hope …, Holy Spirit .. and Growth in Fraternity …) were receiving ‘donations’ from GFA related entities. In this Post, we have added Holy Berachah, New Lifeline, New Life Charitable and Arul Shelter Home to this list.
  3. A look at their donors (see Table 3) during these years is revelatory. In 2014-15, only a few individuals have donated small sums. Interestingly (or should one say, needless to state? #lulz), all of them appear to hail from Carrollton, Texas, USA which also happens to be the location of Gospel for Asia’s former headquarters #ROTFL. However, vast sums of money have landed at the doors of these FCRA-NGOs from GFA-associated LLCs in Texas in the years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
  4. New Life Charitable & Educational Trust has received small sums of money from Organizations appearing to be unrelated to GFA, in the years 2011-12, 2012-13 & 2013-14.
  5. We do not rule out the possibility of additional ‘dormant’ FCRA-NGOs being activated likewise in future.
  6. We have no idea why these FCRA-NGOs have started receiving donations from GFA related entities.

Table 3: List of donors to the additional FCRA-NGOs

FCRA-NGO Reg. No. 2014-15 Donors 2015-16 Donors 2016-17 Donors
Rehaboth Indian Gypsy New Life Trust TN/75850280 Michelle Jimenez, Carrollton Peace Givers, Voice of Love LLCs
Shekina Propetic Mission Trust TN/75850295 Cody Cornine, Carrollton Unfailing Love, Road to Peace LLCs
New Hope Foundation TN/75901313 Fred H&B, Norris Drive, Texas In His Steps, Grace in Action LLCs
Holy Spirit Ministries KA/94421256 Unconditional Love LLCs
Growth in Fraternity Trust KA/94421319 Javier Mendoza, Carrollton Cup of Blessings, Shepherds Care LLCs
Holy Berachah Ministries KA/94421606 Last Hour Ministry LLCs
New Lifeline Charitable Ministries CH/291420068 David Carroll, Carrollton Grace in Action LLCs
New Life Charitable & Educational Trust DL/231661079 RoadRunner-NewMexico, Agape Church-Ohio Last Hour Ministry & Babu John-New Mexico LLCs
Arul Shelter Home Trust TN/75850216 Kim Smith-Carrollton Teaching Skills

Table 4: Trustees of these additional FCRA-NGOs (Data from Darpan Portal)

FCRA-NGO Trustees
Rehaboth Indian Gypsy New Life Trust Raji John, Stella Mary Prabhudas
Shekina Propetic Mission Trust Prabhudas, Sam C Mathew, Sunny Samuel
New Hope Foundation John Auxon, Shiney Raji, Rajadurai K
Holy Spirit Ministries Raju Barnabas, Prakash, Kamalapur Vijaylaxmi
Growth in Fraternity Trust Thomas N S, H Sumanth Kumar, Gracy Sunny
Holy Berachah Ministries Daniel Varghese, Jesu Prasad, SD
New Lifeline Charitable Ministries Martin K E, Simaun Masih, Chandra Veer
New Life Charitable & Educational Trust Roy Isac, William Joseph, Mini Simon
Arul Shelter Home Trust Sasi Kumar, Samaresh Pradhan, Subash Chandrabose

A natural question that would arise now is: Have these FCRA-NGOs received ‘donations’ from GFA related entities (including LLCs) beyond the date of cancellation of FCRA registrations of the four Tiruvalla entities? The answer appears to be yes as can be seen from the Quarterly FCRA returns filed by these additional FCRA-NGOs shown in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Quarterly foreign fund inflows to these additional FCRA-NGOs (all the donors are LLCs in Texas, discussed in text.)

All amounts are in INR

FCRA-NGO Reg. No. Jan-Mar 2018 Oct-Dec 2017 Jul-Sep 2017 Apr-Jun 2017 Jan-Mar 2017 (INR)
Rehaboth Indian Gypsy New Life Trust TN/75850280 32092513 32032426 25541637 57018837 34792411
Shekina Propetic Mission Trust TN/75850295 86340280 0 25577590 32143503 41292809
New Hope Foundation TN/75901313 0 97310610 47072405 60954245 32233633
Holy Spirit Ministries KA/94421256 0 81021782 25541598 63980988 32111749
Growth in Fraternity Trust KA/94421319 31982536 31922449 22380166 69756870 37864982
Holy Berachah Ministries KA/94421606 0 25128690.78 0 63700000 0
New Lifeline Charitable Ministries CH/291420068 0 70807785 146316704 47553323 8239242
New Life Charitable & Educational Trust DL/231661079 0 74239948 140059224 96683182 29945153
Arul Shelter Home Trust TN/75850216 88613736 0 0 0
TOTAL 239029065 412463690.8 432489324 491790948 216479979

GRAND TOTAL = INR 1792253007 (Rs. 179 Crore)

Prior to January-March 2017 quarter, the above nine FCRA-NGOs have reported NIL receipts from any foreign organization. And, all of a sudden, they have received a whopping largesse of Rs. 179 Crore in just five quarters from LLCs in Texas.

It is thus clear that these nine FCRA-NGOs have been receiving donations from GFA related entities in Texas, even after the cancellation of FCRA license (for whatever reasons) of the four primary, publicised, affiliate FCRA-NGOs of GFA located in Tiruvalla, Kerala.

Do these ‘donations’ (or would ‘transfers’ be more appropriate?) violate any Indian law? None, to my knowledge. And, that is the tragedy, Dear Fellow Dharmics.

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Gospel For Asia continues to use FCRA

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