Several leading academicians, economists and rights activists termed the raid on premises linked to Setalvad as the "most shocking" instance of "misuse" of government machinery.
"Since Setalvad and her colleagues are fully willing to cooperate with the CBI's inquiry, the conclusion is inescapable that the CBI's action is part of a campaign to humiliate and persecute them," they said in a statement.
They alleged that she was being hounded for her attempts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"The obvious reason for this is the well-known fact that Setalvad has been in the forefront of the struggle to bring to justice the guilty of the 2002 Gujarat riots," it said.
The statement was released by NGO Sahmat on behalf of academicians, intellectuals, artists and those related to film making including Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Prabhat Patnaik, Arjun Dev, Vivan Sundaram, Arpana Caur, Kumar Shahani, Saeed Mirza, MK Raina and others.