Over 20 members of parliament on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting the Central Bureau Investigation's (CBI) raids against senior lawyer Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover, who are accused of violating a law on foreign funding.
"We, the undersigned individuals strongly condemn the raids at the homes and offices of senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover this morning by the CBI. The raids are being carried out in both Delhi and Mumbai. This, latest in a long line of coercion and intimidation of Ms Jaising and Mr Grover, it is nothing short of a brute show of intimidation as well as gross abuse of power," the letter read.
The lawmakers urged the government to "halt such act of coercion and intimidation".
Raids started at around 5 am at the home of Indira Jaising in Delhi's Nizamuddin and the offices of Anand Grover's NGO Lawyers Collective in Delhi and Mumbai. The CBI had earlier filed a case against Anand Grover and Lawyers Collective for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or the FCRA.
The CBI's case refers to a period when Indira Jaising was Additional Solicitor General between 2009 and 2014. The expenses of her foreign trips at the time were from funds of the NGO without Home Ministry approval, according to the investigating agency.
The CBI also says Indira Jaising, at this time, received Rs. 96.60 lakh from Lawyers Collective without government permission.
Indira Jaising says there is no conflict of interest; the Additional Solicitor General is a public servant, not a government servant, so is not banned from receiving foreign contributions.
"Mr Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years," said Indira Jaising, who has been a vocal critic of the government.