The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday raided the home and office of activist Teesta Setalvad and her organisation in Mumbai in connection with a case of alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in receiving funds from abroad without taking prior permission from the home ministry.
Reports said a team of 16 CBI sleuths carried out searches at four places in Mumbai at the premises of Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and office of Sabrang Communications and Publishing. Setalvad flayed the move, saying she had been cooperating with the CBI.
“We are surprised and shocked at this,” Teesta told PTI, adding, “We have been offering full cooperation. We believe that it is a caged-parrot in operation and it’s a political vendetta and they are trying to humiliate and intimidate us.”
Ms Setalvad, who is known for her work on behalf of the victims of the 2002 violence in Gujarat, has been accused by the state’s police of “embezzling funds”.
According to PTI, CBI sources said in New Delhi that the case was registered after the agency completed verification of all the documents submitted by the home ministry while referring the probe to the agency.
It was alleged that the accused named in the FIR, in a criminal conspiracy, accepted foreign contribution without registration and prior permission from the Union home ministry as mandated under FCRA norms, PTI reported.
Bank account frozen
The government had earlier ordered a CBI probe into the transfer of funds by US-based Ford Foundation to Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited (SCPPL) and even froze a bank account of the firm on June 26.
It was alleged that at SCPPL violate rules of FCRA in accepting a donation of USD 2.9 lakh from Ford Foundation without getting clearance of the Home Ministry.
The Gujarat government had earlier asked the Home Ministry to take action against Ford Foundation, alleging that the US-based organisation was “interfering in internal affairs” of the country and also “abetting communal disharmony” through an NGO run by Setalvad.
There are several cases in which the Gujarat government and Setalvad are waging legal battles. While she has filed several cases against the state government functionaries in connection with post-Godhra riots of 2002, the state police have filed a case of alleged embezzlement of funds against her.
(With agency inputs.)