Govt refutes reports of probe into Gates Foundation

06 May 2015

The government has dismissed reports suggesting that the home ministry has initiated a probe into the funding activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation after a section of the media today reported that the ministry has started a preliminary investigation into a donation it made to the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

The reports suggested that the home ministry initiated investigation into the Foundation's role in funding the prominent global non-profit body on the basis of inputs received from intelligence agencies.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been active in India, working on healthcare and community development projects for around 10 years.

"Reports in a section of media about Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation coming under the scanner of the home ministry is not based on facts. There is no such action," ministry spokesperson KS Dhatwalia said.

Last year, both Bill and Melinda Gates were honoured with the Padma awards by the government.

The Foundation has been involved in a number of projects in India. It also helped the flood victims of Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

The report seems to be inspired by opposition to investigations into the activities of NGOs such as Greenpeace and the Ford Foundation that are active the world over.

A report in the Ahmedabad Mirror said that the MHA had stepped in over an anonymous tip-off that "there is an alleged discrepancy in the amount the Gates Foundation has said it donated to the PHFI, and what the PHFI has said it received."

The Economic Times quoted an unnamed MHA official as saying, "It is not a formal inquiry. It's only a look into the affairs after certain information has come to our notice and we are in the process of checking it out,"

The ET report added that the official had also insisted that the exercise was also different in intensity and scope from the ministry's recent actions against Greenpeace India and the Ford Foundation.

The organisation also said it has not received any official summons from the MHA with regard to an investigation.

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