A special court today extended the CBI custody of MHA official Anand Joshi till May 24 for allegedly issuing FCRA notices arbitrarily to several NGOs for financial gains after the agency said it needed to interrogate him in connection with some files seized during the probe.
Special CBI Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna allowed the agency’s plea in which it was mentioned that seven new files have been recovered during the investigation and the accused is also required to be confronted in relation to certain emails sent to private persons and properties in the name of his wife.
“After considering the submissions, I am of the considered opinion that for the purpose of thorough investigation, the remand be extended till May 24,” the judge said.
The agency’s plea was opposed by Joshi’s counsel who said that CBI has already got enough time.
He said that Joshi had cooperated in the interrogation earlier and five days were enough to investigate the matter.
During the hearing, the accused told the court that he was “mentally depressed” after which the judge ordered his medical examination today.
Joshi, who was arrested from west Delhi on May 15, was produced in court after expiry of CBI custody.
CBI had earlier claimed that the files relating to several NGOs had gone missing from Home Ministry and they were recovered from his house although he was not supposed to take them away.
It had alleged that Joshi had been issuing notices dishonestly to a large number of NGOs/societies registered under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) 2010, which have been receiving significant amount of foreign contributions, in an arbitrary manner.
It has said some of these organisations are Care India, Snehalya Charitable Trust, Indian HIV/AIDS Alliance and All India Primary Teachers Federation and alleged that the representatives of some of these organisations were called and Joshi demanded and obtained illegal gratification.
Joshi was arrested on May 15 after he allegedly gave unconvincing answers to the questions posed by a team of Special Crime division of the CBI, including those related to disappearance of files related to Sabrang Trust of activist Teesta Setalvad.
Joshi, who had disappeared last week from his home in
Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, was picked up from Tilak Nagar area of West Delhi on Sunday and taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning. Subsequently, he was arrested by the agency.
Joshi has rejected the charge and instead accused his seniors of pressuring him to give a clean chit to NGOs. In a note which he had left before leaving home, Joshi claimed he had been subjected to “mental harassment” in recent months.
CBI had alleged that Joshi laundered ill-gotten earnings in various immovable assets as well as certain private firms which were floated by him and his wife was one of the directors in them.
It alleged even after his transfer from FCRA division, he continued to indulge in corrupt activities on the basis of documents which were in his possession unauthorisedly.
The agency claimed that during the search conducted at Joshi’s house, one file pertaining to FCRA which pertains to private NGO Care India Solutions for Sustainable Development has been seized and his interrogation was needed to know as to how the official files made way in his house and what was his intention in bringing them.
The matter came to light after files pertaining to alleged FCRA violations by two NGOs run by Setalvad went missing from the Home Ministry. The files were traced and restored to the FCRA division but CBI was asked to investigate the matter.
It was noticed that the files had gone missing when the Home Ministry took a decision to cancel FCRA registration of one of Setalvad’s NGOs, Sabrang Trust, sources had said.
( Source – PTI )