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Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2019

CBI Raids Senior Lawyers Indira Jaising, Anand Grover’s Home, Offices

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360695-indira-jaising-and-anand-groverNEW DELHI : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday raided the residence and offices of senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover over alleged violation in foreign funding. Grover was booked by the agency for alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violations in receiving foreign aid. When contacted, Grover asked not to be disturbed as he was in the “midst” of it (searches).
Jaising alleged she and her husband were being “targeted” by the CBI due to their work in the field of human rights. “Mr Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years,” she told reporters. The Supreme Court in May had issued a notice to the lawyers and their NGO, Lawyers Collective, on a plea alleging violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

Reacting to the notice, the two had alleged they were being “victimised” as Jaising had taken up the cause of a sacked woman employee of the apex court who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which were later rejected by an in-house inquiry committee on May 6.

The notice was issued to them on a plea seeking investigation and lodging of FIR under various provisions of law for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilisation of foreign funds.

Jaising and Grover, founders of Lawyers Collective, had been asked by a bench headed by the CJI to respond to a plea by an NGO, Lawyers Voice. “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 the 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 the merits of the allegations,” Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective said in a press statement.
They said that since Jaising, a former Additional Solicitor General, has been “publicly vocal” on the due process with regard to the conduct of the In-House Inquiry Committee headed by Justice SA Bobde, the CJI should have recused himself from hearing the matter.
“Considering that Ms Jaising has been publicly vocal on the issue of due process of law in relation to the conduct of the in-house inquiry, the Chief Justice ought to have recused himself from hearing the matter,” the statement said.
They also said that the plea by Lawyers Voice was filed in the apex court on May 6 and it came be listed before the CJI’s court on Wednesday “contrary to the circulars and notifications” of the top court.
“We are deeply disturbed by the turn of events. It needs to be noted that the petition came to be filed on May 6, 2019. It appears from the record on the Supreme Court’s website that the petition was filed on May 6 at 3.19 PM. There were a number of objections, which were removed on May 7,” they said.
“It further appears that though the matter was not orally mentioned on May 7, it came to be listed in court number 1 on May 8, contrary to the circulars and notifications of the Supreme Court in respect of listing,” the statement said.
Over 20 members of parliament on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting the Central Bureau Investigation’s (CBI) raids against senior lawyer Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover, who are accused of violating a law on foreign funding.
“We, the undersigned individuals strongly condemn the raids at the homes and offices of senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover this morning by the CBI. The raids are being carried out in both Delhi and Mumbai. This, latest in a long line of coercion and intimidation of Ms Jaising and Mr Grover, it is nothing short of a brute show of intimidation as well as gross abuse of power,” the letter read. The lawmakers urged the government to “halt such act of coercion and intimidation”.
Raids started at around 5 am at the home of Indira Jaising in Delhi’s Nizamuddin and the offices of Anand Grover’s NGO Lawyers Collective in Delhi and Mumbai. The CBI had earlier filed a case against Anand Grover and Lawyers Collective for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or the FCRA.

The CBI’s case refers to a period when Indira Jaising was Additional Solicitor General between 2009 and 2014. The expenses of her foreign trips at the time were from funds of the NGO without Home Ministry approval, according to the investigating agency.

The CBI also says Indira Jaising, at this time, received Rs. 96.60 lakh from Lawyers Collective without government permission. Indira Jaising says there is no conflict of interest; the Additional Solicitor General is a public servant, not a government servant, so is not banned from receiving foreign contributions.

Indira Jaising and Anand Grover are among the most prominent faces of public interest and civil rights litigation in India and have been involved in path-breaking cases linked to gender justice, gay rights, labour and health care.
The CBI also says Indira Jaising, at this time, received Rs. 96.60 lakh from Lawyers Collective without government permission. Indira Jaising says there is no conflict of interest; the Additional Solicitor General is a public servant, not a government servant, so is not banned from receiving foreign contributions.
Anand Grover and his NGO have been accused of misusing foreign contributions and spending the funds for trips abroad. The Home Ministry said it noticed irregularities in 2010. The CBI also alleges that both lawyers organised “paid dharnas” using foreign funds, such as one for the HIV-AIDS Bill in October 2009, on which they claim Rs. 89,000 was spent.
“Mr Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years,” said Indira Jaising, who has been a vocal critic of the government. Mr Grover was one of the key lawyers in the landmark case in which homosexuality was decriminalised by the Supreme Court.
Over 20 lawmakers have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemning the raids. “We, the undersigned individuals strongly condemn the raids… This, latest in a long line of coercion and intimidation of Ms Jaising and Mr Grover, is nothing short of a brute show of intimidation as well as gross abuse of power,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also criticised the raids. “I strongly condemn CBI raids on well-known senior advocates Indira Jising 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 and constitutional values is clear vendetta,” he tweeted.

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