The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at the residence and office of Supreme Court lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in New Delhi and Mumbai in connection with a foreign funding case. The raids were conducted on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs against Jaising and Grover run Lawyers Collective, an NGO that focuses on human rights cases among other issues.
“The CBI is currently in our offices and residences in Mumbai and New Delhi,” Jaising had told IndianExpress.com
Providing further details, officials said the searches are taking place at the Nizamuddin residence and office of Jaising, office of the NGO in Jangpura and an office in Mumbai from 5 in the morning.
Grover was booked by the agency for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) rules. When contacted by news agency PTI, Grover asked not to be disturbed as he was in the “midst” of it (searches).
Lawyers Collective has denied all charges levelled by the CBI.
The FIR against Grover and the NGO was filed last month following a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which has alleged several discrepancies in the utilisation of foreign aid received by the group. Jaising has not been named as an accused in the FIR but her alleged role figures in the complaint of the ministry. Grover is the trustee and director of the organisation.
“It was alleged in the complaint that during the year 2006 to 2014, the accused persons entered into a conspiracy in Mumbai, Delhi and other places with an intent to cheat the Government of India in the matter of misusing/diverting Foreign Contribution received in the Mumbai based NGO,” the CBI said in a statement.
Unknown officer-bearers and functionaries of the NGO and unknown private persons and public servants were also made accused in the FIR filed under IPC sections that deal with forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the raids, saying it was a clear vendetta. Taking to Twitter, he said: “I strongly condemn CBI raids on well known senior advocates @IJaising and Mr Anand Grover. Let the law take its own course but subjecting veterans who have all through their lives fought for upholding the rule of law & Constitutional values is clear vendetta.”
I strongly condemn CBI raids on well known senior advocates @IJaising and Mr Anand Grover. Let the law take its own course but subjecting veterans who have all through their lives fought for upholding the rule of law & Constitutional values is clear vendetta
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 11, 2019
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the raids were a means to harass and intimidate.
“CBI raids at residence of Indira Jaisingh & Anand Grover in case of alleges misuse of foreign funding to their NGO is a clear act of Vendetta. Registration of cases & raids by Govt agencies has now become the way of govt to harass & intimidate opponents,” Bhushan tweeted.
According to the complaint of the ministry, which is now a part of the FIR, the group had received foreign aid worth over Rs 32.39 crore between 2006-07 and 2014-15, wherein irregularities were committed that amounted to violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
“Foreign contribution to the tune of Rs.32.39 crore (approx.) was received in the account of the said NGO and the accused persons misused a sizable amount of the funds received in the account of the Mumbai based NGO and thereby violated the provisions of FERA 2010,” the statement read.
Based on available information and scrutiny of records of the NGO available with the MHA, prima facie violations of various provisions of the FCRA, 2010 were noticed, the ministry said.
It added that on-site inspection of books of accounts and records of the NGO was conducted from 19th to 23rd January, 2016.
Sections of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 have also been included in the FIR by the central agency after receiving a complaint against the Collective from the ministry.