CBI ends 3-day recording of Teesta, hubby's statement in FCRA case

Activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on Monday concluded recording of their statement before CBI in connection with a case against their firm for allegedly receiving around USD 2.9 lakh in foreign donations in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

PTI| Updated: Jul 20, 2015, 20:28 PM IST

Mumbai: Activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand on Monday concluded recording of their statement before CBI in connection with a case against their firm for allegedly receiving around USD 2.9 lakh in foreign donations in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The couple appeared before the central probe agency on three consecutive days since Saturday pursuant to Friday's directive of CBI special judge Anis Khan, who had reserved his order on their anticipatory bail applications till tomorrow while granting them interim protection from arrest.

The CBI, which registered a case on July 8 against Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited, has alleged that SCPPL was not registered under FCRA for collecting money from abroad and the amount of nearly Rs 1.8 crore (2.9 USD) was, therefore, received in violation of the Act as the organisation needed to seek prior approval of the Union Home Ministry.

"We have recorded our statement on three consecutive days as per the directions of the court. Beyond this I can't share anything as per the orders of my lawyers," Setalvad later said.

The CBI sleuths had searched four premises owned by Setalvad, Anand, an associate Gulam Mohammed Peshimam, and the office of SCPPL on July 14.

The probe agency had opposed the bail plea contending the motive behind the transfer of foreign contribution to SCPPL reflected "interference towards the internal security and activities of India" and also contested Setalvad's claim that the money received was a fee for consultancy.

"During the search, an agreement dated September 22, 2006 between Ford Foundation (a US-based NGO) and SCPPL was seized which clearly showed that the remittances were grants. There is no mention of any 'consultancy' therein," the CBI told the court.

The CBI, which is probing the firm's accounts from 2004 to 2014, claimed to have recovered documents showing that the money received from the Ford Foundation had not been cleared by the Home Ministry.

In a related move, the couple has moved an application before a court in Mumbai challenging the raids carried out by CBI, citing the Crinimal Procedure Code which provides for conducting a raid only in circumstances when the accused is not cooperating.

The court will hear the petition on July 27.

Setalvad, during the July 14 raids by CBI, had termed the action as a" shameful political vendetta".

"The Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27 2015. The Naroda Patiya appeals (Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi) are being heard in the Gujarat High Court tomorrow. This is nothing but a bid to subvert the cause of public justice and ensure that no justice happens in these cases," she had said in a statement. Kodnani was a minister in the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi and Bajrangi is a notorious Hindu right wing activist.