NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is carrying out searches at residence of Supreme Court lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover and their Mumbai-based voluntary organisation Lawyers Collective, in connection with Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violation case.
The searches are understood to be taking place at the Delhi and Mumbai offices of the NGO, officials said.
The agency had last month booked Grover and his NGO for alleged violation of rules in receiving foreign aid.
The agency has filed an FIR on the basis of a complaint from the ministry of home affairs (MHA), which has alleged several discrepancies in the utilisation of foreign aid received by the NGO.
The CBI booked Grover, the president of Lawyers Collective, and unidentified office-bearers of the organisation, besides unidentified officials. The allegation was strongly disputed by Lawyers Collective.
Although the CBI has not named Grover’s wife and former additional solicitor general (ASG) Indira Jaising as an accused in the FIR, the complaint filed by the MHA, which is part of the FIR, mentions allegations against her.
The ministry has alleged that Jaising, who was the ASG from 2009 to 2014, had received Rs 96.60 lakh from the foreign contributions received by Lawyers Collective. It has also stated that her foreign travels as ASG were funded by Lawyers Collective, using such contributions, without prior approval of the ministry.
The MHA said the ASG is paid by the government from the Consolidated Fund of India and carries out very sensitive and high-level work, including, inter-alia, giving advice to the government in legal matters, appearing in the Supreme Court and high courts on its behalf and representing it in any reference made by the president to the apex court.
It has alleged that Jaising violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (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”.
According to the ministry’s complaint, Lawyers Collective had allegedly received foreign aid worth over Rs 32.39 crore between 2006-07 and 2014-15, wherein irregularities were committed that amounted to violation of the FCRA, 2010.
Recently, a PIL was filed by Lawyers Voice, a voluntary organisation of advocates, in the Supreme Court, alleging that the funds collected by Lawyers Collective were misutilised for “activities against the nation”.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta had issued notice to Jaising, Grover and the MHA, asking them to file their responses on the allegations, including that the money received by Lawyers Collective was used to “influence political activities”.
Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective had issued a press statement, disputing “any allegation of misutilisation of any funds”.