New Delhi, July 11: Breaking the unholy nexus of foreign funding aid, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is carrying out searches at Lawyers Collective and residence of lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover. The FIR was filed against them on the basis of a complaint from Ministry of Home Affairs alleging various discrepancies in the utilization of foreign aid received by the NGO.
The CBI raids are believed to be conducted in Delhi and Mumbai offices of the Lawyers Collective NGO. It was in June that the CBI had booked Anand Grover and his NGO for violating rules of receiving foreign aid. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked Grover, the president of Lawyers Collective, and unidentified office-bearers of the organisation, besides unidentified officials.
The Ministry of Home Affairs alleged that Grover’s wife and former additional solicitor general (ASG) Indira Jaising during her tenure from 2009-2014 had received payment of worth Rs 96.60 lakh from the foreign contributions received by Lawyers Collective. It also stated that her foreign travels as ASG were funded by Lawyers Collective, using such contributions, without prior approval of the ministry.
MHA also highlighted that the ASG is paid by the government from the Consolidated Fund of India and also that it carries out very sensitive and high-level work. This includes 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.
The FIR also emphasizes 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 MHA, 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.
Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective had issued a press statement, disputing "any allegation of misutilisation of any funds". The FRCA licence of the NGO was cancelled by the Modi government in 2016 for using foreign funds to achieve political objectives.