CBI raid on Teesta

The CBI today raided three locations in Mumbai to "nail" activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, and claimed to have seized incriminating documents.

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui
  • Published 15.07.15
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Teesta Setalvad during the CBI raid at her home in Mumbai on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, July 14: The CBI today raided three locations in Mumbai to "nail" activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, and claimed to have seized incriminating documents.

Teesta, a known critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, denied breaking any law and alleged a "vendetta".

An agency official said Teesta's Sabrang Communications and Publishing had between 2004 and 2014 accepted $290,000 from the US-based Ford Foundation, which the government put on a watch-list in April this year.

A private organisation can accept donations from abroad only if it is registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.

"Sabrang is not so registered, so it needed to seek prior approval from the Union home ministry (to receive the Ford funds)," the official said.

The CBI has been probing Teesta and her husband Javed, both directors of Sabrang, following a Union home ministry order last month. Today, armed with a court order, its officials searched the couple's residence and offices.

"We found enough incriminating documents to nail the couple," a CBI official said, adding that the couple would soon be summoned to Delhi for questioning.

Teesta expressed shock. "We had written to the CBI offering full cooperation and telling the agency that whatever so-called offences are registered against us, we will cooperate. So we do not understand the rationale behind this entire operation," she said in Mumbai.

"We believe that it (the CBI) is a caged parrot in operation and it's a political vendetta aimed at humiliating and intimidating us."

CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad denied the charges. "We conducted searches by following due process of law. They have failed to explain the reason behind the violation," she said.

The couple have been charged with criminal conspiracy and several other provisions of the FCRA.

The Ford Foundation, one of the largest international donors, was put on the watch-list following a Gujarat government complaint that it was interfering in India's "internal affairs" and encouraging Teesta's NGOs to promote "communal disharmony".

Teesta had earlier filed cases against Gujarat government functionaries, including then chief minister Modi, in connection with the 2002 violence while state police had accused her of embezzling funds meant for riot victims.

In February this year, the Supreme Court had restrained the Gujarat police from arresting Teesta and Javed in Mumbai.