CBI told to apologise to Aakar Patel for stopping travel

Delhi court asked the CBI Director to tender written apology to former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel after he was stopped from his U.S. flight from Bengaluru Airport citing a Look-Out Circular (LOC) issued against him

April 07, 2022 09:34 pm | Updated April 08, 2022 09:05 am IST - New Delhi

Former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel. File 

Former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel. File  | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Noting that “there cannot be any unfettered control or restriction on the right to travel” and that it was part of the fundamental rights, a Delhi court on Thursday asked the Director of the CBI to tender a written apology to former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel after he was stopped from boarding a U.S.-bound flight from Bengaluru Airport on Wednesday citing a Look-Out Circular (LOC) issued against him.

The court also went on to direct the CBI to withdraw the LOC issued against Mr. Patel after he challenged the same before the Magistrate.

The order was passed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar, who noted that the issuance of the LOC was a “deliberate act” and that it puts restriction on the “valuable rights” of the accused.

The order noted, “...a written apology from the head of CBI i.e., Director, CBI acknowledging lapse on part of his subordinate, to applicant would go a long way in not only healing wounds of applicant, but also upholding trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution”.

According to case records, Mr. Patel was stopped from boarding a flight to the U.S. on Wednesday citing an LOC issued against him by the CBI in connection with a case that has been lodged by the agency against Amesty International for alleged FCRA violations. He claimed before the court that the action was taken against him despite a Gujarat court order which allowed him to travel for the specific trip.

Mr. Patel, through his lawyer, Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, claimed that he was not named as an accused in the said FIR and that he was never called by the CBI in connection with the case. He further claimed that he was served a notice under Section 160 of CrPC only for the purpose of appearance on December 24, 2020 which he had adhered to.

Mr. Patel, reacting to the court order, said: “The court did the right thing...I was unnecessarily being harassed...I hope the apology comes. I have done nothing wrong, it’s the government that has done wrong”.

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