Court seeks CBI's response on Aakar Patel’s plea to revoke lookout notice against him

Aakar Patel was stopped from flying out of Bengaluru airport on the grounds that he was on the lookout by the CBI.
A file image of Aakar Patel
A file image of Aakar Patel
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A Delhi court on Wednesday, April 6, sought a response from the CBI on a plea filed by former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel against a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him in a case of an alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). Aakar Patel, the former chief of Amnesty International India, was on Wednesday, April 6, was stopped from flying out of Bengaluru airport on the grounds that he was on the lookout by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Hearing Aakar’s plea, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar issued notice to the probe agency and sought their reply by Thursday when the court will hear the matter further. Patel has further sought the court's permission to visit the USA to take up his foreign assignment and lecture series organised by various universities till May 30. Patel alleged that he was stopped by the immigration authorities at Bengaluru's Kempegwda International Airport earlier this morning while he was boarding a flight to the USA.

The application claimed that the action was taken despite an order by a Gujarat court granting him permission to travel to the USA. Aakar had told TNM that he was stopped by immigration officials even though he had a court order releasing his passport specifically for this trip. His passport had earlier been impounded in connection with a case filed against him by a BJP MLA in Surat but he got the passport back from the court for this trip. Aakar was scheduled to fly to the USA to deliver lectures at three universities — Michigan University, Berkley University and New York University.

“I was told at the Bengaluru airport that there was a look out circular in my name. I showed them the court order and told them that my passport had been impounded and released specifically for this trip. They said that this was a different case, it was a CBI notice. I called the person in-charge at the CBI,” Aakar told TNM. 

Aakar was informed that the lookout circular was in connection with the case filed by CBI against Amnesty India. He tweeted, "CBI officer called to say I am on the Look-Out Circular because of the case Modi govt has filed against Amnesty International India." He, however, also said he has neither been arrested nor is he on bail in that case. 

The CBI had raided the premises of Amnesty International India's offices in Bengaluru and New Delhi in November 2019. About 15 CBI officers had visited the Amnesty office in Indiranagar, a posh locality near the central business district in Bengaluru, taking away details pertaining to multiple compliances, organisation structure and others.

In 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had raided the Amnesty International India office in connection with a foreign exchange contravention case. The searches were in connection with the alleged violation of foreign direct investment norms linked to a previous case of revocation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of the NGO by the Home Ministry in 2010.

With PTI inputs

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