Washington– Indian American friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the ruling BJP are facing growing scrutiny from US authorities under a law that requires Americans working for or on behalf of foreign governments or entities to register themselves and their organisations as “foreign agents”.

Investigations are currently understood to be underway against an unspecified number of Indian Americans, who include one person who has claimed to be a long-time friend and supporter of the Indian Prime Minister and who has been at the forefront of many diaspora rallies and outreach involving Modi and senior members of his cabinet.

There was no response from him to a request for an interview.

A spokesperson for the National Security Division of the US Department of Justice that administers the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) that has triggered these investigations, refused to confirm or deny whether two Indian Americans — specifically named in the request — were being investigated under FARA.

“Please note that the FARA Unit does not issue advisory opinions to third parties, or provide comment on any activities the staff conducts in its efforts to enforce the Act,” the spokesperson replied in a written response.

Just this past July, a Texas-based organisation became the second organisation set up by Indian Americans to register themselves under FARA – Ethos Foundation (DBA – Bharati Foundation). Its office-bearers are a US-based Indian citizen and two Americans of Indian descent. It was not immediately clear if the organization was forced to register itself under FARA by US authorities or did so voluntarily.

In its registration form, the organisation listed Kishore Poreddy, describing hims as the official Spokesperson of BJP, as the person it engages with, and listed the address of the foreign principal — the BJP — as Nampally Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

The organisation said its aim is to “communicate with NRIs (non-Resident Indians) and bring political awareness about their Mother country which is India”.

To that end, it said, its activities are limited to “just helping the Foreign Principal (the BJP) to gain (the) confidence of (the) Indian diaspora so that it can help them in their elections in India”.

About services rendered for the foreign principal — the BJP, it said it “will help communicate with Indian diaspora which would help Indians have awareness of India and its politicians and cultural ambassadors, that would help Indian Diaspora get in touch with Indian cultural and political ambassadors and won’t be in darkness about their native country”.

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