The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay a Bombay High Court order directing the Central Bureau of Investigation not to take coercive steps against senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover and their non-governmental organisation Lawyers Collective in a case related to alleged violation of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, Live Law reported. The CBI had moved the top court last month against the interim relief granted by the High Court to the lawyers on July 25.
A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the NGO, Jaising and Grover, according to ANI. In its plea, the CBI said the High Court had neither said how the FIR was “unsustainable and bad in law” nor had it ruled how it would be unlawful to continue the investigation.
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 Ministry of Home Affairs, the NGO’s FCRA registration was suspended in 2016 as its response to the allegations was not satisfactory.
The CBI’s FIR is based on a complaint by the home ministry. It has accused Jaising and Grover of misusing the funds for personal benefits. Though the ministry did not name Jaising in its complaint, it accused her of receiving remunerations worth Rs 96.6 lakh from foreign contributions made to the organisation during her tenure as India’s additional solicitor general from 2009 to 2014. The ministry alleged that her foreign travels as the government’s counsel were funded by Lawyers Collective without the ministry’s approval.
In July, the CBI searched the homes and offices of Jaising and Grover in Delhi and Mumbai. 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.
Meanwhile, Justice Aniruddha Bose recused himself from hearing the matter further, reported Live Law.