Amnesty International India’s former head Aakar Patel on Thursday bought aid from a Delhi court docket that directed the CBI to instantly revoke the lookout round towards him
NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: A day after being barred from boarding a flight to the US, Amnesty International India’s former head Aakar Patel on Thursday bought aid from a Delhi court docket that directed the CBI to instantly revoke the lookout round towards him.
The court docket additionally requested the CBI director to make a written apology, acknowledging the “lapse” in placing Patel on the exit management listing “merely on the basis of apprehensions arising out of the whims and fancies of the investigating agency”.
By night, journalist-activist Patel was again on the Bengaluru airport to catch a flight to Bangkok en route to Michigan, the place he’s scheduled to converse at a convention on Friday. “I don’t know if I’ll make it to the occasion on time. If not, I’ll attend it on-line. I’m travelling to New York and Berkeley for different occasions,” he told TOI. Patel said the CBI should reimburse him for the financial loss he suffered for cancelling Wednesday’s flight ticket at the last moment. He was to board a British Airways flight to Boston.
Hearing Patel’s plea against the CBI’s lookout notice, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Pawan Kumar said the stricture was in violation of the guidelines laid down by the Delhi high court and relevant circulars issued by the Union home ministry.
“This act of the investigating agency has caused monetary loss of around Rs 3.8 lakh to the applicant,” he said. “Before taking recourse of the stringent provisions of issuance of LOC, the consequences on the rights of the affected person should have been foreseen. The fundamental rights of any person cannot be curtailed without any procedure established by law.”
The court said an apology from the CBI director would “go a long way in not only healing the wounds of the applicant but also upholding the trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution”.
The additional chief metropolitan magistrate asked the CBI director to fix accountability for the “arbitrary” act of issuing the lookout notice against Patel and sensitise those officials to the fundamental rights of citizens. Kumar noted that there was an inherent contradiction in the CBI considering Patel a flight risk while not finding enough grounds to arrest him in the case filed against him.
This was after advocate Tanvir Ahmed Mir, representing Patel, said his client hadn’t even been named in the FIR and was issued a notice under Section 160 (examination by police) of the CrPC only once for appearance on December 24, 2020, which he complied with. “Citizens cannot be railroaded by agencies like this. It is time that we send a suitable reply to law enforcement agencies and society,” he said.
The CBI had argued that the lookout notice was issued after taking the requisite approvals. The agency is probing a case against Amnesty India Pvt Ltd, Indians for Amnesty International Trust, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation involving alleged violation of the Foreign Currency Regulation Act, 2010. This pertains to Amnesty (UK) remitting Rs 20 crore to its Indian entities, classified as FDI, allegedly without any approval from the ministry of home affairs.
Patel is separately fighting a case filed against him in a sessions court in Gujarat, based on a complaint by BJP legislator Purneshbhai Ishwarbhai Modi. On February 19, the court permitted him to travel abroad.