Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday expressed shock after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at the premises of human rights activist and retired IAS officer Harsh Mander in the national capital in connection with a money laundering investigation.
Taking to Twitter, Tharoor wrote, "I am shocked & dismayed to read of the ED raids on my friend and college batchmate @harsh_mander." "He is a person of unquestionable integrity & honesty, incapable of wrongdoing, almost too upright for the standards of today's India. This raid is a travesty," he added.
Official sources told news agency PTI that Mander's residence and NGO offices located in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj, Adchini and Mehrauli areas are being searched under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The teams are looking at financial and banking documents of the two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) linked to him, they said.
The 66-year-old Mander, who has authored a number of books and writes newspaper editorials on subjects related to social justice and human rights, left for Germany along with his wife in the early hours of Thursday.
He is stated to be on a fellowship in that country.
The ED case is based on a Delhi Police economic offences wing (EOW) FIR filed in February against the Centre for Equity Studies (CSE) that runs two child NGOs. Mander is its director.
The police complaint was filed under Sections 75 and 83(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act along with Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) on the complaint of the registrar of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) against alleged violations in Umeed Aman Ghar and Khushi Rainbow Home in south Delhi, both established by the CSE.
The police had then said that the case was registered on the basis of an inspection of these homes by NCPCR teams in October last year.
The NCPCR, an apex child rights body, had alleged in the past that during the inspection of two NGOs many violations of the Juvenile Justice Act and various other irregularities including prevalence of child sexual abuse in one of the homes were observed.
Mander had then called the allegation "unjustified".
"I think it is completely unjustified. We created a very strong system, like we had elder women (caretakers) sleeping with smaller children and we have counselling. It is just an allegation and a rumour," he had said.
(With PTI inputs)