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FCRA violation: SC seeks response from advocates Indira Jaising, Anand Grover, their NGO

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New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) The Supreme Court Wednesday sought response from activist lawyers Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and their NGO 'Lawyers Collective' on a plea seeking investigation and lodging of FIR under various provisions of law for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilisation of foreign funds. The PIL filed by Lawyers' Voice, a voluntary organisation of advocates, alleged that the funds collected by them were misutilised for "activities against the nation". A Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta also issued notice to the Ministry Home Affairs and asked its response on the allegations including that the money received by Lawyers Collective was used to "influence political activities". The petition mentioned orders of the Centre by which the licence of Lawyers Collective was suspended in 2016 and later permanently cancelled for alleged violation of FCRA. It alleged that Jaising remained involved with the activities of Lawyers Collective when she was Additional Solicitor General for India during the previous UPA-II regime. The PIL alleged that Jaisingh, Grover and the Lawyers Collective violated the provisions of FCRA (Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Prevention of Corruption Act. It has also been alleged that she violated the Advocates Act by receiving funds from foreign entity and travelling abroad on the money received for NGO while being the law officer of the country. The petition, filed through advocate Surender Kumar Gupta, sought direction to the Centre to place on record all the materials including confidential documents which led to passing of the orders. It alleged that the Centre chose not to investigate Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective which was founded by the duo in 1981 even after there being "grave charges" against them. The plea submitted that Jaising and Grover under the garb of working as activists were involved in several activities to pressurize public functionaries and others and therefore it was in public interest that the true facts of such activists should come in public domain. It alleged that they also received "domestic contribution both by cheque as well as a huge amount by cash as it is known to everyone which needs to be thoroughly probed". The petition said it was clear from May 31, 2016 order that Jaising, while functioning as Additional Solicitor General for the Centre from July, 2009 to May, 2014 had received a remuneration of Rs 96.60 lakhs. It said it was impermissible for a law officer to remain on the rolls of private entity being paid foreign contribution for "undisclosed purpose". "Despite holding the position of a law officer, Jaising not only accepted 96.60 lakhs from foreign contributions but also travelled abroad from the same fund for which no approval or intimation was given or taken by Jaising from the Centre," the plea said. The petition referred an order of November 27, 2016 by the competent authority cancelled the FCRA registration of the NGO upon recording its satisfaction that it transgressed the FCRA provision and suppressed material facts to cover up its acts and omission and commission. "The foreign organisations which have funded the organisation are known for their surreptitious interference in political sovereignty of other states and to influence abrogate and overturn the same through money power and by interfering with its political functions through participating methods which are veiled," it said. It is submitted that as far as cancellation of FCRA registration certificate, an operation of FCRA domestic bank accounts, were concerned, the Bombay High Court had refused to grant any relief to Jaising, Grover and their NGO and the matter was still pending before the high court. PTI RKS LLP SJK SA

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