On Saturday, a Special CBI Court upheld a Magistrate court order that had set aside the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former Amnesty International India chair Aakar Patel. The court also said the CBI director need not offer a written apology to Patel as directed by magistrate court after agency officers stopped him from leaving the country.
According to the reports, Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann of Rouse Avenue Court upheld the trial court order that had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to immediately withdraw the look-out circular issued by it against far-left ‘activist’ and fo Amnesty India chief Aakar Patel. However, the court order is subjected to two conditions, Aakar Patel should appear before the trial Court within a week and shall furnish a bond for his appearance under Section 88 CrPC. Secondly, he will not leave the country without the permission of the trial court, said the special CBI court.
The impugned order is upheld subject to two conditions:— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 16, 2022
– @Aakar__Patel will appear before Trial Court within a week, shall furnish a bond for his appearance under sec. 88 CrPC to the satisfaction of Trial Court.
– He will will not leave country without permission of Trial Court.
Uphelding the ordert to withdraw the look out circular against Aakar Patel, the court said that the manner in which the LOC was been issued by the CBI shows lack of understanding of the relevant law. Therefore, there is a need for orientation of the concerned officers of CBI, not only for sensitization but also to bring objectivity in the actions, is not out of context, the court order said.
“In the present case, LOC was issued on wrong interpretation and understanding of law, and not out of any malice or ill will. Hence, it is not a fit case to call for fixing the accountability for issuance of LOC,” the Court said.
The court however set aside the court order directing CBI director to apologise to Aakar Patel, saying it was not a subject matter before the Trial Court, as there was no scope to venture into the aspect of “Mental Harassment”.
“Therefore direction of the Trial Court to the Director, CBI to give written apology to the respondent accused, acknowledging the lapse on the part of his subordinate, to compensate for mental harassment, cannot sustain and is liable to be set-aside,” the Court order stated.
Aakar Patel was stopped from boarding a flight to the United States (US) on April 6. He was informed that he could not fly out of the country as a LOC had been issued against him by the CBI.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Amnesty India and its former chief Aakar Patel for violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, last December.
Aakar Patel had approached the court recently against a lookout circular (LOC) issued against him by the CBI. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court had asked CBI to withdraw the LOC, however, a sessions court had stayed the magistrate court order.
The LOC was purportedly issued in relation to a case regarding evasion of FCRA Rules through “commercial” methods after Amnesty UK remitted Rs.10 crore and subsequently Rs.26 crore to its Indian entities without the approval of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
In response, Patel had then moved the ACMM court, which had set aside the LOC and also directed the CBI director to tender a written apology to Patel.
After the ACMM order, Patel again booked tickets to the US but was once again stopped at Bengaluru Airport on April 7 by immigration authorities since the CBI had not withdrawn the LOC. The CBI had filed a revision application before the special court challenging the magistrate’s order.