The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday started searching the homes and offices of senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in Delhi and Mumbai in a case related to alleged violation of rules under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, NDTV reported.
Last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against Grover and his non-governmental organisation Lawyers Collective for alleged discrepancies in the utilisation of foreign aid. Grover is a trustee and director of Lawyers Collective. Jaising, who is married to Grover, is a trustee and secretary of the organisation.
Unidentified officials said the investigators started the searches at Jaising’s office and residence in Nizamuddin in Delhi, the office of Lawyers Collective in Jangpura and the origanisation’s office in Mumbai at 5 am, PTI reported.
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, officials said.
Jaising said she was being targeted along with her husband. “Mr Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years,” ANI quoted her as saying.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the government of targeting Jaising and 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,” he tweeted.
The agency had filed the FIR on the basis of a complaint by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Lawyers Collective is accused of irregularities in receiving foreign aid worth more than Rs 32.39 crore between 2006-’07 and 2014-’15. According to the home ministry, the NGO’s FCRA registration was suspended in 2016 as its response to the allegations was not satisfactory.
Lawyers Collective has said the FIR has “no basis in fact and in law” and has been filed to target and silence its office bearers for the cases they have taken up in the past.
The ministry also made allegations against Jaising, though she was not named as an accused. Jaising was accused of receiving remunerations worth Rs 96.6 lakh from foreign contributions made to the organisation during her tenure as the additional solicitor general from 2009 to 2014. The ministry alleged that her foreign travels as the government’s counsel were funded by the organisation without the ministry’s approval.
Jaising also allegedly violated the FCRA by “not seeking clearances from the government for receiving foreign contributions in the form of remuneration from the organisation and accepting foreign hospitality while visiting a foreign country”.