New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday carried out searches at the residence of senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising and offices of the Lawyers’ Collective, an NGO run by the lawyer and her husband Anand Grover.
Searches were conducted at two places in Delhi and one in Mumbai since early morning. In Delhi, the CBI conducted searches at the Nizamuddin residence and office of Ms Jaising as well as the NGO’s office in Jangpura. Another office was also searched in Mumbai.
The CBI has registered a case against Mr Grover for alleged FCRA violations in receiving foreign aid. The CBI had filed an FIR against Mr Grover and Lawyers’ Collective following a complaint from the home ministry that alleged several irregularities in the utilisation of foreign funds received by the organisation. While Ms Jaising is not named in the first information report (FIR), her role has been questioned in the complaint forwarded by the home ministry to the investigating agency. Ms Jaising said that she and her husband were being targeting for taking up cases of human rights violations. The searches evoked sharp reactions.
‘CBI raids’ are ‘vendetta politics’
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the government of “targeting” Ms Jaising and Mr Grover. “While the law must take its course, brazen targeting of well-known and respected senior advocates by the government via its agencies raises serious questions about its intentions,” Mr Yechury said in a tweet.
The Trinamul described the raids as “vendetta” and alleged that the government was harassing all the “voices of opposition”.
“The CBI raid at the residence of Indira Jaising and Anand Grover is yet another example of the many instances of vendetta. This govt is harassing citizens and all voices of opposition. This is a #SuperEmergency,” Trinamul national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien tweeted.
The CBI has booked Mr Grover, who is president of Lawyers’ Collective, and unidentified office-bearers of the organisation, besides unidentified officials.
According to the home ministry complaint, which is now part of the FIR lodged by the CBI, Lawyers’ Collective had received foreign donations worth over Rs 32.39 crore between the year 2006-07 and 2014-15, wherein irregularities were committed that amounted to violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). The ministry further claimed that as per available information and scrutiny of records of the NGO, prima facie violations of various provisions of the FCRA were noticed. It further added that an on-site inspection of books of accounts and records of the NGO was conducted from 19 to 23 January, 2016.
Ms Jaising, Mr Grover and Lawyers’ Collective had earlier issued a press statement, denying “any allegation of misutilisation of any funds”. The statement further added, “It is obvious to us that this is victimisation on account of Ms Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to allegations of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India by a former employee of the Supreme Court, which Ms Jaising has done so in her capacity as a concerned citizen, a senior member of the bar and a women’s rights advocate, without commenting on merits of the allegations.”
The CBI has alleged that Ms Jaising received Rs 96.60 lakh from Lawyers’ Collective without government permission between 2009-14 - during this period she was an additional solicitor general under the UPA regime....