CBI files FIR against Indira Jaisingh run NGO for allegedly violating laws pertaining to foreign funds

CBI has filed a FIR against activist lawyer Indira Jaisingh and Anand Grover run NGO Lawyers Collective for allegedly violating laws pertaining to foreign funds. Grover is a trustee and director of the NGO, while his wife Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising, is a trustee and secretary.

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.

CBI has invoked sections of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) apart from IPC sections pertaining to hatching a criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and cheating. The home ministry has alleged several discrepancies in the utilisation of foreign aid received by the NGO.

CBI had initially registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) before lodging the FIR against Grover and others associated with Lawyers Collective as well as unknown officials. The allegation was strongly disputed by Lawyers Collective in a statement, with Grover and his spouse and well-known lawyer Indira Jaisingh expressing shock and outrage. Sources pointed out that Jaisingh, a former additional solicitor general, does not figure in the FIR.

In a statement issued last month, the NGO had blamed CBI’s move to start a PE on political vendetta.

“The FIR is solely based on proceedings under FCRA in which orders for suspension and cancellation of LC’s registration to receive foreign funding were passed by the MHA in 2016, which LC has challenged before the Bombay HC and the appeal is pending. Even at that time, LC had pointed out that the FCRA proceedings were taken against it because its office-bearers had taken up sensitive cases against the leading figures of BJP and the government,” the statement said making a specific mention of the Sohrabuddin case.

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 Ministry, which is now part of the FIR, mentions allegations against her.

The Ministry has alleged that Jaising, as the ASG from 2009 to 2014, had received remunerations worth ₹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.

According to the Ministry’s complaint, the Lawyers Collective had allegedly received foreign aid worth over ₹32.39 crore between 2006-07 and 2014-15, wherein irregularities were committed that amounted to violation of the FCRA, 2010.