Teesta Setalvad's Lawyers Hit Out at CBI for Calling Her Threat to National Security

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File photo of social activist Teesta Setalvad. (Associated Press photo)


Mumbai, Maharashtra:  Social activist Teesta Setalvad's lawyers have hit out at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for calling her a threat to national security to a Mumbai Court yesterday. The agency was opposing the anticipatory bail of the activist in a case of alleged violations related to foreign funding of her NGOs.

Ms Setalvad's lawyer, Vijay Hiremath told NDTV, "It's extremely ridiculous that she is a threat to national security. The documents that were seized have been earlier given to other investigation agencies as well. Also no foreign currency was found in the house."

The CBI had registered a case against Ms. Setalvad in connection with alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) on July 8.  The agency claims that Sabrang Communication and Publishing Private Limited received around USD 2.9 lakh (Rs 1.8 crore) in donations from overseas in violation of FCRA.

Ms. Setalvad had approached the court for anticipatory bail yesterday. The court granted her protection from arrest till July 21, when it will pass an order on the bail application. Her lawyers maintain that there was no violation of FCRA guidelines.

According to rules, an organisation or a private firm can accept donations from overseas only after it has been registered under FCRA.

This donation was, therefore, a "serious violation" of FCRA provisions which mandate funding from a foreign source to only those recipients who have FCRA registration, Home Ministry had said while ordering a CBI probe.

Ms Setalvad, who has for years worked for victims of the 2002 riots in Gujarat, alleges persecution by the ruling BJP. She has been accused by the Gujarat police of embezzling funds meant for a riots museum.


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