CBI swoops down on lawyer

New Delhi/Mumbai: The CBI on Thursday searched the residence of senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover in the national capital and in Mumbai at five locations for alleged violation of FCRA norms and claimed to have seized incriminating documents, officials said. Jaising and Grover are the face of public interest and civil rights litigation and have been involved in trend-setter cases linked to gender justice, gay rights, labour and health care. The CBI's FIR, filed on the basis of a Home Ministry complaint, does not name Jaising as an accused but the ministry reportedly referred to her alleged role. The case refers to a period when Jaising was Additional Solicitor General between 2009 and 2014. The expenses of her foreign trips at the time were allegedly sourced from funds of the NGO without Home Ministry approval, according to the investigating agency.

Jaising says there is no conflict of interest; the Additional Solicitor General is a public servant, not a government servant, so, he is not banned from receiving foreign contributions. Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Jaising said, "Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years."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. "The CBI raid at the residence of Indira Jaisingh and Anand Grover is yet another example of the many instances of vendetta. This government is harassing citizens and all voices of opposition. This is a Super Emergency," Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O' Brian said in a tweet.

Jaising accused the government of targeting the couple for the human rights work they have done.The CBI searches, which started around 5 a.m. in both cities, followed a Home Ministry report.According to the CBI, unknown officer-bearers and functionaries of the NGO, private persons and public servants have also been made accused in the FIR.The CBI officials said the searches took place at the residence and office of Jaising in Nizamuddin East in Delhi.The CBI team also searched the offices of Lawyers Collective in Mumbai and residence of Grover. A senior CBI source said during searches, they have recovered several incriminating documents supporting the travel expenses of Jaising being borne by the Lawyers Collective.Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Jaising said, "Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years."The Home Ministry report said the NGO was registered for carrying out social activities and it received Rs 32.39 crore from 2006-07 to 2014-15.The violation of the FCRA was noticed in 2010, the complaint said.The CBI case says Jaising got a remuneration of Rs 96.60 lakh from Lawyers Collective to travel abroad.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Trinamool Congress condemned the CBI raids."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 a clear vendetta," Kejriwal tweeted.

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