Is analyzing mobile call details the prerogative of anyone and everyone. Does Ford Foundation approve of the Sabrang Trust's claims that the latter had analysed 5 lakh mobile calls?
Checking mobile calls and analyzing them is the job of the Intelligence Bureau and also the police with specific permission from the Home Ministry as per the Supreme Court in the 1997 verdict of PUCL vs the Union of India.
The case relating to the call analysis done by Teesta Setalvad's Sabrang Trust has become a subject of consideration especially after the Home Ministry put on hold funding by the Ford Foundation to NGOs in India.
It is a well known fact that the Sabrang Trust and the Sabrang Communications and Publishing Ltd run by Teesta had received a funding of 5.4 lakh dollars and 2.9 lakh dollars respectively.
Charges against Sabrang
A detailed investigation which was conducted by the Gujarat government had some startling revelations to make. In fact this investigation became one of the major triggering points to indicate that the Ford Foundation had funded Sabrang which had used its funds for various activities which do not give a proper explanation.
While analyzing the funds of the Sabrang trust, it was found that an amount of Rs 5 lakh had been spent on analyzing call data. The trust under the header Mobile Call Records states that Sabrang analysed over 5 lakh mobile call during the Gujarat riots of 2002.
What the Gujarat government has said is that this is an unauthorized and illegal activity. How did Ford Foundation not object to grant of funds for such activities. This is a pertinent point that the Union Home Ministry is looking into as call analyses is not the job of the job of an NGO.
What did Sabrang spend at its office?
It is quite surprising that ST and SCPPL had gone on to spend 80 per cent and 75 per cent of the allocated funds on its office. The accounts mention in a grant of 2.5 lakh dollars made towards a project 80 per cent had been spent on office expenses.
In the case of SCPPL, a grant towards a project of 2.9 lakh dollars was made. It was mentioned that 75 per cent of this was spent on office expenses. There is no clear explanation on what these office expenses are, the Gujarat government had noted.
Defaming the Indian army
Was Ford Foundation funding Sabrang to defame the Indian military? It was the contention of the Gujarat government that SCPPL had declared that serving and retired army officials are engaged in generating terror.
Ford Foundation had supported the defaming of the Indian military. It also supported an organisation which did nothing but stoked religious tensions, the Gujarat government also noted.
Further the government noted that the organization had exceeded its brief. It had allowed a Pakistani human rights activist to visit India and in the bargain an exaggerated view of the communal situation in the country was portrayed.