The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted interim relief to senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in a case related to alleged violation of rules under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, ANI reported.
Lawyers Collective, the organisation led by the two advocates, had moved the court to seek the quashing of the first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation against them. The court asked the CBI to file a response by August 19, and said no coercive steps should be taken against Jaising and Grover until then, Bar and Bench reported.
On July 11, the Central Bureau of Investigation had searched the homes and offices of Jaising and Grover in Delhi and Mumbai. Last month, the investigation agency had filed a case against Grover and 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.
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”.