High Court directive to CBI

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to release the passport of Aditya Khanna, an accused in the oil-for-food scam in Iraq.

Ordering the release of his passport, Justice Gita Mittal of the Court said: ``The CBI has no authority to seize the passport in view of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.”

The Court directed the agency to release Khanna’s passport within three weeks of the order. The passport was in the custody of the CBI since December 2006 when it was handed over to it by the Directorate of Enforcement.

The Court pulled up the probe agency for not returning the passport to Khanna for the last two years when there was no case pending against him. “There is no submission even that the petitioner is as an accused in any criminal case lodged by the CBI,” the Court said.

“Even a court cannot impound a passport. Though the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) states that a court may impound any document or thing produced before it, in our opinion, this provision enables it to impound any document or thing other than a passport,” Ms. Justice Mittal said.

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