Revengeful raids on Harsh Mander proves democracy in dire straits: Congress

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) The Congress alleged on Saturday that the CBI raids on activist Harsh Mander and his NGO proved that democracy was in dire straits and speaking for the marginalised was banned under the current dispensation.

The CBI registered a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act against Mander and his NGO Centre for Equity Studies and searched his premises on Friday.

Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said, "Atrocious and revengeful raids on Harsh Mander by Modi Government proves...democracy is in dire straits. Expressing opinion is now a crime. Disagreement is treated as sedition. Speaking for the marginalised is banned." "The CBI is now - Castigate, Blame, Incriminate," he also alleged in a post on X.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also came out in support of Mander, whom he has known since college days.

"He was and remains one of the purest souls I have ever come across — a man of unimpeachable integrity, sincere intention and boundless compassion. His mind and heart extend themselves to humanity's unfortunates, the dispossessed & marginalised. To harass a man like him is unworthy of any decent government. I stand with Harsh," Tharoor said in a post on X.

The CBI registered the FIR against the former IAS officer and his Delhi-based CES after conducting a preliminary enquiry on a complaint from the Home Ministry for the alleged violations of various provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry on April 13 last year on a complaint from the Home Ministry against the Centre for Equity Studies, Aman Biradari Trust, Oxfam India and Action Aid Association over alleged FCRA violations.

The inquiry has revealed that through its Chairman Mander, CES diverted funds from FCRA accounts in alleged violations of FCRA, the CBI FIR has alleged. PTI SKC SMN