Tomorrow, February 3, 2017 Javed Anand and Teesta Setavad will appear in response to a summons before the CBI Court (Kila Court) Mumbai. They have been chargesheeted for 'violating provisions of the FCR Act' a charge they have consistently denied. The false case relates to a Consultancy with Ford Foundation and Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt Ltd
The CBI charge sheet follows the raid on their home and offices in 2015, following their being given anticipatory bail by the Bombay High Court (August11, 2015). Tomorrow will hopefully be a routine conversion of the ABA to a judicial bail. This is however a long string of persecutions against the two (Gujarat Police false FIR, MHA Inspection, Cancellation of FCRA etc and the eighth false criminal case against Setalvad.
What needs to be remembered that this is a compundable offence. At worst it is a civil one. The brazen attempts by the regime to criminalise it and to actually charge sheet Anand and Setalvad bespeaks a desperation and vindictiveness that is unprecedented.
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Please also look at the Frontline Defenders statement below
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CBI allegations baseless: Teesta
Kolkata: January 05, 2017 00:09 IST
Activist Teesta Setalvad said the charges framed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against her and her husband Javed Anand would not hold in the court of law.In an interview to The Hindu, the activist said the allegations “do not have any legal basis” according to specific sections of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) of 1976 and the amended FCRA of 2010.
The CBI, on Tuesday, filed a charge sheet against Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Anand accusing them of receiving contributions from abroad even if “they were not eligible” for the funding. The funding was given by Ford Foundation.
One of the three key allegations was that Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Anand, being publishers, are barred from taking foreign contributions. They also wrote articles in Indian papers and thus barred from receiving funding from other countries under various sections of FCRA 2010. However, both of them and their publishing company Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL) received funding thus violating the law.Ms. Setalvad said: “Ford Foundation [contribution] falls outside the purview of FCRA as per the Act [Section 3 and 4]” and thus neither the individuals accused or SCPPL violated any law.
Under FCRA, three categories of professionals — members of political party, public servants including judges, and members in the editorial position in media organisation — are prohibited from accepting foreign contribution in their capacity.
However, the Section 4 of 1976 Act and Section 3 of 2010 Act say that individuals prohibited may take a fee for the services provided. Like an editor of an Indian paper may accept a fee for writing in a foreign publication or a lawyer MP providing professional advice in personal capacity may accept a fee from a legitimate foreign source as long as the person accounts for the contribution.
“Thus the bar on receiving foreign contribution under Section 3 for certain ‘persons’ has an exclusionary clause under Section 4. In short, both Section 2 (h) [explanation of foreign contribution] and Section 4 put SCPPL and us outside the purview of FCRA Act,” Ms. Setalvad said.
The other allegation is that they did not seek prior permission of the Home Ministry for receiving the funds. Ms. Setalvad said that since the consultancy was “out of the purview of FCRA, the question of seeking prior permission does not arise.”
The third allegation was related to non-maintenance of a separate bank account, as obligated under the FCRA. Ms. Setalvad reiterated that the consultancy “was out of the purview of FCRA.”
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Frontline Defenders Condemns - Continuous judicial harassment against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed AnandFront Line Defenders expresses its concern at the continuous judicial harassment against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand as it believes this to be an attempt to intensify the harassment of the human rights defenders, and to repress their legitimate work in the defence of human rights. On December 31, 2016, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet to the Mumbai special court against human rights defenders Ms Teesta Setalvad, Mr Javed Anand and their publishing company Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL) for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
Teesta Setalvad is a journalist and founder of Sabrang Trust, Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL) and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP). Sabrang Trust and Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL) were established after the 1992-1993 communal violence in Mumbai, and work to promote conflict resolution and support peace building. CJP was established in April 2002, in the immediate aftermath of the communal violence during the Gujarat riots, to provide legal aid to the survivors of the riots, and has been instrumental in obtaining the 117 convictions against perpetrators of the violence.
On December 31, 2016, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet to the Mumbai special court against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and SCPPL for criminal conspiracy under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, along with Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). There were three key allegations, the first allegation was that Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, as columnists, were not eligible to accept foreign contributions in accordance with FCRA. The second allegation is that they did not seek prior permission from the Home Ministry for receiving the foreign contribution. The third allegation was that the company did not maintain an exclusive bank account for receipt of foreign contribution, as obligated under the FCRA. The Mumbai special court has issued summons to the human rights defenders to appear before court on February 3, 2017.
This is not the first case of judicial harassment on Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. On June 16, 2016, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notice to cancel the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Sabrang Trust. According to Gujarat's Minister of State, Mr Rajnikant Patel, the state government contacted the Home Minister requesting the inquiry into the Setalvad's Sabrang Trust on the basis of their belief that foreign funds sent to her NGO, in particular by the US-based Ford Foundation, were misused in order “to create communal disharmony” within the state of Gujarat, and carrying out “anti-national propaganda” abroad.
Front Line Defenders expresses its concern at the continuous judicial harassment against Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand as it believes this to be an attempt to intensify the harassment of the human rights defenders, and to repress their legitimate work in the defence of human rights.
The appeal may be read here