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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Foreign funding to Indian Islamic NGOs from ‘Rahbar Foundation’, violating FCRA provisions

A frequent sight on the roads of Hyderabad is push cart vendors going about their business with the banner ‘Donated by Rahbar Foundation’ mentioning the foundation’s  website address. As per the foundation’s website (www.rahbarfoundation.org), it is located in the USA at the following address –  2436 KENT DR, Irving, Texas, 75062. The foundation is USA 501 (C)(3) approved non-profit charitable organization with Tax-exempt ID: 47-3151781.

As per the profile of the organisation available in Guidestar USA website (a leading NGO information repository), the objective of Rahbar Foundation reads as follows:

The Rahbar Foundation is USA based 501 (C) (3) approved non-profit charitable organization & established to serve humanity regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, class, location, religion, color, cultural diversity and social background, with a special focus on the majority of the population living below the poverty line. We are dedicated to providing charitable assistance in the field of education, healthcare, hunger, emergency relief and other social welfare services to alleviate the poverty of underprivileged people around the globe with major focus on Bharat. Every dollar contributed by donors is used as efficiently as possible to maximize the impact on the beneficiary.

While the organisation claims to serve humanity irrespective of religion, it is observed that the organisation’s board is made up entirely of Muslims. The chief functionaries of the organization, as mentioned in its Form-990 submitted US Internal Revenue System (IRS), are Azhar Pasha Khaja, Ahmed Siddiqui and Nasim A Sheik. Per the website of the Rahbar Foundation, the charity programmes being implemented are Sharia-compliant programmes, and almost all the beneficiaries are from the Muslim community only. In addition to the following programmes, the foundation, through its partner NGOs in Bharat, also runs ‘Self-Employment’ projects, and training programmes and provides ‘Micro-Finance for Business’.

The annual financial reports also mention that Rahbar Foundation has been donating to individuals in Bharat through a network of local organisations in various parts of Bharat. The following is the list of various programmes being implemented. In particular, Zakat can be collected from Muslims only and utilised for the welfare of Muslims. Thus there is a clear divergence between objectives as recorded with USA tax authorities for claiming charity status and tax exemption and programmes delivered on the ground:

AquiqahOrphan & Poor Women MarriagesSupport To Widows 
Fidiya/KaffaraQurbani / Udhiya Zakat / Sadaqah
Food Packets For Hunger Ramadan Iftar/Dinner Zakat-Al-Fitra 

The following is the snapshot of the organisation’s financial data for the year 2019 as per the CauseIQ website:

As per the Rahbar Foundation’s 2017 to 2021 Annual Financial Statements made available on its official website for public view, it has transferred more than US $ 3 Million to Bharat in the name of financial aid.

Financial YearContribution (in US$)
2017202,303.79
2018398,901.00
2019500,128.00
2020638,531.00
20211,337,221.00
Total3,077,084.79

Funds are transferred by the foundation from the USA to NGOs set up by Muslims in Bharat and functioning for the welfare of Muslims in various parts of Bharat. While the foundation’s website mentions Bharat as its area of operation, the tax returns filed with US tax authorities camouflage the actual name of the country by mentioning ‘SOUTH ASIA’ as the area where funds have been utilized.

Rahbar Foundation has established its Indian unit in Hyderabad with a vast network spread across the country by partnering with local NGOs. Further study of the Bharatiya entities receiving aid from the Foundation revealed that most of the recipient NGOs in Bharat do not have FCRA permission to receive funds from abroad. This is a severe violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010.

Apart from direct financial contributions to Bharatiya entities and individuals, Rahbar Foundation (US), as per its website, is also partnered with several Global Corporate companies, including Amazon (under the ‘Amazon Smile’ programme), for running a welfare activity under its ‘Corporate Matching Gift & Volunteer Grant Program’. The official website defines corporate matching gift programs as charitable giving programs created by corporations in which the company matches donations made by employees of partnering corporates. It also says that ‘one can double the impact of one’s donation by utilizing the matching gift programs that are in place at thousands of employers.

For the year 2019 and 2020, the Rahbar Foundation received funds from the following foundations and non-profits in the USA.

GrantmakerGrantmaker tax periodDescriptionAmount
American Online Giving Foundation2020-03General Support$76,220
United Way Worldwide2019-12General Charitable Operation$5,313

Annual Financial Statements provided by the Rahbar Foundation (US) on its website for 2017 to 2021, respectively, have listed some Bharatiya entities across several states. Nijam Today’s investigation is based on NGO Darpan’s official website (run by the NITI Ayog), and the FCRA Database maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bharat.

Note: It is important to note that on 4th October 2017, MHA issued a notice making it mandate for all the FCRA registered associations and those who are seeking registrations under the FCRA Act and prior permissions to accept foreign contributions to register with DARPAN Portal with all details such as names of chief functionaries, addresses etc.

After careful examination by cross-checking the Bharatiya entities listed in the annual reports of the Rahbar Foundation with the information available on Darpan’s website www.ngodarpan.gov.in and FCRA Database open to the general public on https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc8_statewise.aspx, it is found that except a few, none of them is registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 which is mandatory for NGOs to receive foreign funds.

Here is the list of Bharatiya entities mentioned in the annual reports of the Rahbar Foundation, which are said to have been funded by the said US-based Islamic charity NGO.

Name of the Indian EntityAddress(as per NGO Darpan Website)Registered under FCRA Act?Official Website
Organization For Management And Development Center (OMDC)638/2377, Rajarani, Suryavihar, Gadamahavir Road, Garrage Chhack, Old Town, Khordha District, Odisha -751002Nohttp://www.omdc.in/
Care for All Trust167/5 J Ext Close, Firdos Mosque, Laxmi Nagar, DelhiNohttp://www.careforalltrust.org/
Rahbar Foundation (Hyderabad) H No. 21-4-1139,1ST, FLOOR, Moosa Bowli, HyderabadNoNot Found
Hidaya FoundationNot FoundNoNot Found
MadrasaJame Ul Uloom FurqaniaMeston Ganj, Rampur – 244901, Uttar PradeshNohttp://www.madrasafurqania.com/
Musthafa  Sabiya Educational TrustNo: 97/1, L.K.A.Jeyaram Nagar, Ambathurai – 624 302, Dindigul District, Tamilnadu75890443http://msetindia.org/
Raviverma Rural & Urban Development Services (RUDS) Charitable TrustSanthi Nagar, NCC Colony, Kottur, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh – 524004NoNot Found
SOCH Sanstha4/1095-A, Sir Syed Nagar,Civil Lines, Aligarh, U.P. INDIA 202002Nohttp://soch4u.com/
Jamiah Darul Ehsan (Wakf)Near Makki Masjid, Surat Jakat Naka, Bardoli, Gujarat42100179Not Found
Safa Baitul Maal Religious & Welfare Turst16-9-408/P/57, Al Safa Masjid, Wahid Nagar, Old Malakpet, Hyderabad – 500036Nohttps://www.safabaitulmaal.org/
Tayyab Trust (US)Local Address with Exact Name is Not FoundNot Foundhttps://tayyabtrust.org/
Global Health Pvt Ltd, IndiaLocal Address with Exact Name is Not FoundNot FoundNot Found
Rahbar Education & Welfare SocietyLocal Address with Exact Name is Not FoundNot FoundNot Found
Hidaya Educational Welfare FoundationLocal Address with Exact Name is Not FoundNot FoundNot Found
Muslim Educational Social & Cultural Organization (MESCO)22-1-1037/1, Darul Shifa, Hyderabad 50002410230110https://mescoeducation.com/
Darul Uloom Qasdus Sabeel Educational & Welfare TrustH.No: 2-12-14-14/1, SBI Main Branch Road, Mahbubnagar, Telangana 50900110280062www.sabeeltrust.org
Idara-E-Faize Rahman Madrasa18-7-423/A/262, Aman Nagar B Colony, Talab Katta, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002NoNot Found
Alpasith Tamil NaduLocal Address with Exact Name is Not FoundNot FoundNot Found
Farah High School, HyderabadExact Location Not Found – Multiple Schools Existed with Same NameNot FoundNot Found
Asian High School, HyderabadExact Location Not Found – Multiple Schools Existed with Same NameNot FoundNot Found
Mohsin Bharmal Welfare TrustExact Location Not Found – Multiple Schools Existed with Same NameNot FoundNot Found

It is found that except for the Musthafa Sabiya Educational Trust, Darul Uloom Qasdus Sabeel Educational & Welfare Trust, and Muslim Educational Social & Cultural Organization (MESCO), none of the above Bharatiya entities mentioned in the annual reports of the Rahabar Foundation has either listed in NGO Darpan’s site or the ‘List of FCRA Registered Associations’ section under www.fcraonline.nic.in. Most entities don’t even have websites, and the addresses of a few NGOs are not traceable through online searches. Details of prior approval under FCRA, if any of Rahabar Foundation registered in Hyderabad, are not found in the FCRA Database of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The bulk of Rahbar Foundation USA’s funds is remitted to its namesake entity in Hyderabad, Bharat.

In Bharat, NGOs such as trusts, societies, non-profit business entities (section 25/8 Companies) or individuals that intend to receive foreign contributions or donations from foreign sources are required to obtain registration under Section 6(1) of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. In its recent judgement, even the Supreme Court of Bharat held that receiving foreign funds is not an absolute or fundamental right of the citizens of the Nation.

One of the objectives of the National Policy on the Voluntary Sector is to ‘encourage NGOs to adopt a transparent and accountable system of governance and management’. While it is not proper to make sweeping generalizations, it is necessary to note that the NGO sector in Bharat is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Though Rahbar Foundation’s US operations seem noble and laudable on paper, there is a clear violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act by recipients of its aid in Bharat. Contrary to lofty ideals of serving humanity irrespective of race, religion etc., there is a clear-cut intention to serve only the Muslim community, and its aid projects are Sharia-compliant and exclude non-Muslims. Under these circumstances, can Rahbar Foundation claim charity status and tax exemption under US laws?

Can charity, however noble, be allowed in contravention of Bharat’s laws? Helping the needy is a noble act, but if it is done by breaking the law, then something wrong can be suspected. One such case is the operations of Rahbar Foundation, a US-based charity organisation, funding a particular section of the society in Bharat by violating FCRA and Money Laundering Acts invites suspicion and needs further investigation by the Government of Bharat.

(This article first appeared on nijamtoday.com on January 17, 2023 and is being republished as part of a content-sharing agreement via smart4bharat.com with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style guide)

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5 COMMENTS

  1. To Whom It May Concern,

    I am writing to file a complaint against The Rahbar Foundation for potentially violating the rules of a non-profit organization, and to request an investigation into its management and financial practices. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization with Tax exempt ID: 47-3151781, The Rahbar Foundation is required to uphold the highest standards of integrity and transparency in all of its operations.

    It has come to my attention that The Rahbar Foundation has committed multiple violations, including political activity, private benefit, excessive compensation, self-dealing, and failure to file accurate tax returns. Members of the organization have also been accused of acting as an organized cult, raising funds for illegal activities, and misusing taxpayers’ funds. The CEO of The Rahbar Foundation and other family members have been accused of multiple violations and breaches of sovereign norms in India with FCRA rules, including using the foundation’s funds for political activities, seeking private benefits, providing excessive compensation to family members as officers and employees, self-dealing, and failing to file accurate tax returns.

    These allegations are of serious concern, and if proven, would demonstrate a clear breach of the IRS regulations and FCRA rules. As a concerned citizen, I urge the IRS and FCRA to investigate these allegations thoroughly and take appropriate action to ensure that The Rahbar Foundation is held accountable for any violations of the law.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Sincerely, news9, investigative journalist student , #nonprofitabuse
    #taxfraud
    #charitycorruption
    #501c3violation
    #publictrust
    #unethicalbehavior
    #abuseofpower
    #IRSinvestigation
    #FCRAviolation
    #donorbetrayal
    #illegalactivities
    #misuseoffunds
    #integritybreach
    #taxevasion
    #nonprofitfail
    #transparencyfail
    #ceofraud
    #selfdealing
    #excessivecompensation

  2. Good evening, and welcome to the news. An investigation by Nijam Today has uncovered fraudulent activities at the Rahbar Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization based in the USA. The foundation has been collecting funds from around 2500 donors, religious places, and corporations in Texas and across the USA through various platforms such as PayPal, eBay, Amazon Smiles, and cryptocurrencies. However, the investigation has found that several Indian entities receiving funds from the foundation are not registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, which is mandatory for NGOs to receive foreign funds.

    The investigation has revealed that the CEO of the foundation, Azhar Pasha, has been using the foundation to amass over $600 million of US taxpayers’ money for personal gain, in violation of tax and FCRA regulations. The foundation has operated under different names before 2015, and when the scam was discovered and exposed to tax authorities, it closed its sites and started anew. The Azhar Pasha family in America is collecting funds on behalf of the foundation and building assets in India for personal use. Most of the Indian entities receiving funds from the Rahbar Foundation are not registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs under FCRA provisions, which is concerning.

    The investigation has also uncovered that the Rahbar Foundation has established more than 200 of its own agencies in India, especially in Hyderabad, Zaheerabad, and surrounding areas. Out of over 200 plus NGOs, only three are approved by FCRA or RBI, and the agencies are redirecting funds back to Azhar Pasha and his family. Most of the agencies are owned by close family members of Azhar Pasha, who are using the funds for personal gain, such as building assets like real estate, properties, farmhouses, school buildings, vehicles, buses, cars, tractors, and luxury items. They are also using the funds for self-use, such as organizing marriages and parties, setting up businesses for family members, and operating as organized crime in India and the USA.

    Azhar Pasha has set up a new foundation called “Care for All,” which is operated by him and his brothers and is registered in both the USA and India. The Care for All foundation is also operating in a similar manner to the Rahbar Foundation, using US taxpayers’ money for personal gain.

    Azhar Pasha has been involved in fraudulent activities in both the US and India. He overstayed in the US illegally and later obtained a spouse visa from a US resident. Her family is allegedly helping Azhar Pasha to influence US citizens, corporations, and businesses for charity “donations to the Rahbar Foundation and continued to operate fraudulent activities on US taxpayers’ money for personal gain.

    As investigative journalists, we are reporting on tax fraud and scams to the authorities. We are grateful to Nijam Today for uncovering the Rahbar Foundation scam, and we urge the public to be vigilant and report any such cases of misconduct to the relevant authorities. Transparency and accountability are crucial in all charitable organizations, and the Rahbar Foundation’s intentions are unethical and criminal. Therefore, the relevant authorities should take strict action against the Rahbar Foundation and its members for their fraudulent activities, which are exploiting American taxpayers’ money through its closed family members in America. #RahbarFoundationScam
    #CharityFraud
    #NonProfitMisconduct
    #FCRAViolation
    #TaxFraud
    #AzharPasha
    #CorruptionInCharity
    #MisuseOfDonations
    #NGOAccountability
    #ForeignFundsMisuse
    #HyderabadScam
    #ZaheerabadFraud
    #CareForAllFraud
    #IllegalStayInUSA
    #SpousalVisaAbuse
    #ExploitationOfUSATaxpayers
    #OrganizedCrimeInCharity
    #UnethicalCharityPractices
    #TransparencyInCharity

  3. K. Sahadev and A.S. Santhosh, on behalf of Nijam Today, have uncovered evidence suggesting that several Indian entities receiving funds from the Rahbar Foundation are not registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. This is a mandatory requirement for NGOs to receive foreign funds. Following a thorough investigation into the activities of the Rahbar Foundation, the findings are alarming. It has come to light that the CEO of the foundation, Azhar Pasha, is a resident of Anegunta village. The foundation has amassed over $600 million of US taxpayers’ money, equivalent to 5000 crores in Indian rupees, and used it for personal gains.

    It is common to see pushcart vendors conducting business with banners citing the Rahbar Foundation’s website address on the streets of Hyderabad. According to the foundation’s website, located in the USA at 2436 KENT DR, Irving, Texas, 75062, the Rahbar Foundation is a USA 501(C)(3) approved non-profit charitable organization with a Tax-exempt ID: 47-3151781. The foundation has multiple websites, such as https://rahbar-foundation.business.site, and has registered approximately 2500 charity donors, religious places, and corporates in Texas and across the USA. The foundation is also collecting funds via PayPal, eBay, and cryptocurrencies, making it challenging to trace the funds. The foundation has operated under different names before 2015, and when the scam was discovered, it closed its sites and started anew. The Azhar Pasha family in America is collecting funds on behalf of the foundation and building assets in India for personal use.

    It is concerning that most of the Indian entities receiving funds from the Rahbar Foundation are not registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs under FCRA provisions. We call upon the relevant authorities to investigate these findings and take strict action against the Rahbar Foundation and its members for their violations of tax and FCRA regulations.

    We urge the public to be watchful and report any such cases of misconduct to the relevant authorities. Nijam Today emphasizes the significance of transparency and accountability in all charitable organizations.

  4. Here are the contact details for reporting tax fraud in the United States:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    Phone: 1-800-829-1040
    Online: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/how-do-you-report-suspected-tax-fraud-activity
    Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)
    Phone: 1-800-366-4484
    Online: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report.shtml
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    Phone: Contact your local FBI office or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov/
    U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Phone: Contact the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section at (202) 514-1412 or the Tax Division at (202) 514-2051
    Online: https://www.justice.gov/tax/report-tax-fraud
    I hope this information helps.”

  5. Based on Nijam Today’s investigation, there are concerns that Rahbar Foundation, a USA-based 501(C)(3) approved non-profit charitable organization with Tax Exempt ID: 47-3151781, may be involved in potential tax fraud and self-dealing. The investigation found that the organization has allegedly been using US taxpayer funds designated for charitable purposes to build significant assets in the USA, specifically at 2436 KENT DR, Irving, Texas, 75062. The foundation is represented by Azhar Pasha, Imam Dr. Zafar Anjum, Mohammed Sadiq and family members in the USA as per records have been promoting the foundation through various channels, family and friends, and religious events, including mosques and corporations in America.

    Furthermore, the investigation discovered that the organization has been establishing personal charitable trusts in India, building assets and properties there, and spending money on close associates, family members, and other sister organizations in India established by Azhar Pasha and his family members.

    If you have reason to believe that Rahbar Foundation may be involved in misconduct, including potential tax fraud and self-dealing, you can report your concerns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To file a report, you can use Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form, available on the IRS website. The form can be submitted online, by mail, or by fax. You may also contact the IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division toll-free at 1-877-829-5500 to report your concerns. It’s crucial to provide as much detail and documentation as possible to support your claim, as the IRS takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation.

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