NEW DELHI: Indian police raided the offices and homes of two top human rights lawyers on Thursday in an investigation into foreign funding for their NGO, prompting criticism they were being targeted for political reasons.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches relating to a case filed against the non-profit Lawyers Collective and its president, Anand Grover, for allegedly violating laws on foreign funds, a police official said.
In a statement issued in June, after the CBI registered a complaint against the group, Lawyers Collective said it was being targeted for taking up sensitive cases against Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some of its leaders.
Founded in 1981 by Grover and prominent human rights lawyer Indira Jaising, Lawyers Collective is among the thousands of foreign-funded charities hit by increased scrutiny by the Narendra Modi government.
“The searches are ongoing,” said the CBI official, who declined to be named.
Grover said that CBI conducted raids at his offices and homes in Delhi and Mumbai. The CBI alleges that Lawyers Collective and Grover have violated the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), aside from other wrongdoing, which the group has denied.
Since Modi took office in 2014, more than 10,000 civil society groups in India have had their licences to receive overseas donations cancelled or suspended for violations of the FCRA.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019