Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it suspects that its computers may have been hacked as all controversial NGO’s FCRA licenses are being granted renewal online.
The ministry has sought help from Computer Emergency Response System-India (CERT-IN) to probe if the online system, which was introduced in 2015 has been hacked into.
A top official in MHA told India Today “It cannot simply be a systematic error that all controversial NGO’s are being granted renewal,” implying that the ministry suspects foul play. The official said that they are not ruling out an insider job in this case.
A high level internal inquiry has been ordered as to how controversial NGO’s including Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust and Greenpeace India, both canceled by the ministry in the past one year got renewal.
A third NGO of Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), was put under the prior permission category, and so does not qualify for renewal.
MHA inquiry has found that licenses of all the three NGOs were renewed online in August, this year.
“In the online portal, there is a system of red flagging NGOs, that even junior officers could clear. Now we are overhauling the system so that only the joint secretary can clear the red flagged NGOs,” said a senior Home Ministry official.
The foreigner’s division dealing with FCRA license is not new to controversy.
In September, MHA suspended four officers including joint Secretary (IAS) officer for granting clearance to Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
The license was later cancelled and an NIA inquiry was ordered. But the ministry was left red faced after the “goof up” came to light.