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CBI books noted lawyer Anand Grover, Lawyers Collective for FCRA violations

twitter-logoPTI | June 18, 2019 | Updated 16:52 IST

(Eds: Changes information about NGO, adds details) New Delhi, Jun 18 (PTI) The CBI has booked noted lawyer Anand Grover and his Mumbai-based voluntary organisation, Lawyers Collective, for alleged violation of rules in receiving foreign aid, officials said on Tuesday. 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 group. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Grover, the president of Lawyers Collective, and unidentified office-bearers of the organisation, besides unidentified officials. According to the complaint of the ministry, which is now a part of the FIR, the group had 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 Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). Based on available information and scrutiny of records of the NGO available with the MHA, prima facie violations of various provisions of the FCRA, 2010 were noticed, the ministry said. It added that on-site inspection of books of accounts and records of the NGO was conducted from 19th to 23rd January, 2016. The ministry has claimed that comments were sought from the NGO on the basis of violations reported during the inspection, but those were not found satisfactory, following which its FCRA registration was suspended and a show-cause notice issued. Grover, a noted lawyer known for his social activism, is the husband of former additional solicitor general and Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising. 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". "It is obvious to us that this is victimisation on account of Ms Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India by a former employee of the Supreme Court, which Ms Jaising has done so in her capacity as a concerned citizen, a senior member of the bar and a women's rights advocate, without commenting on the merits of the allegations," the press statement had said. PTI ABS RC

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