Social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband were on Friday granted interim protection from arrest after they filed anticipatory bail plea in a court in Mumbai in connection with a case of alleged violation of foreign funding norms by her publishing company.
CBI has alleged that Setalvad's company received Rs 1.8 crore from abroad without approval of the Union government.
Special CBI judge Anis Khan reserved the order on the bail application till Tuesday and granted Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand interim protection from arrest.
The court directed the couple, who has termed the case as "false" and smacking of "political vendetta", to appear before CBI every day till Tuesday.
The Central agency on July 8 registered a case against Setalvad and Anand alleging her firm Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL) received around USD 2.9 lakh (Rs 1.8 crore) in donations from overseas in violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
According to the agency, SCPPL was not registered under FCRA for collecting money from abroad and the said amount was, therefore, received in violation of the Act under which the firm needed to seek prior approval from the home ministry.
Setalvad and her husband, through their lawyer, told the court they were innocent and have been falsely implicated. Her advocate Mihir Desai argued that the only reason why the agency wanted to arrest them is to humiliate them for their work in Gujarat.
However, CBI said motive behind the transfer of foreign contribution to SCPPL reflected "interference towards the internal security and activities of India".
"Such act of foreign donor would prejudicially affect the security, strategic, scientific and economic interest of the state and also affect the harmony between religious, social, linguistic or regional groups, castes or communities", the CBI said in their reply while opposing the application.
The reply further read that the allegations against the couple (Setalvad and Anand) are serious in nature and it is proposed to unravel all contours of the offence and the conspiracy during the investigation.
CBI rejected Setalvad's allegation that the FIR was registered against her and her husband for the purpose of harassing and torturing them.
"The applicants are deliberately mixing up the offences alleged against them with non-related issues in order to divert attention from the serious charges against them."
The CBI also said when the premises linked to the couple were searched on July 14, there was total resistance and non-cooperation from their side.
"During the search, an agreement dated September 22, 2006 between Ford Foundation (a US-based NGO) and SCPPL were seized which clearly showed that the remittances were grants. There is no mention of any 'consultancy' therein", it said.
The agency said there was a "deep rooted" conspiracy between Setalvad, Anand and others in connection with this case and there is a very possibility that they or some of their co-conspirators may have received the donations in cash from foreign sources or other prohibited sources.
"In this context, a sustained custodial interrogation of the applicants in isolation is of utmost necessity to unearth all the facts and circumstances of the case and to unravel the entire contours of the conspiracy," said the CBI while opposing the couple's application for pre-arrest bail.