CBI didn't revoke lookout circular despite court order: Aakar Patel
Former Amnesty International India chief, Aakar Patel, on Friday filed a contempt application in a Delhi court against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials for refusing to revoke a lookout circular (LOC) issued against him despite court orders to do so. This came after Patel claimed that despite a court decision in his favor, he was stopped from going abroad again on Thursday night.
- To recall, the LOC was issued against Patel in connection with a case filed by the CBI against Amnesty International for alleged violations under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
- On Thursday, Patel said in a Delhi court that he was stopped from boarding a US flight on Wednesday despite a Gujarat court order that allowed him to go abroad for this particular trip.
Patel, a former journalist, was denied permission to leave India late Thursday night. Later, he posted on social media that he had been stopped for the second time at the Bengaluru airport by immigration officers. He alleged the CBI didn't withdraw the LOC against him despite orders. Patel's Friday application sought action against the CBI's Investigating Officer for failure to comply with court orders.
Patel, who was scheduled to fly to the United States to deliver lectures at some universities on different subjects—including his book Price of the Modi Years—was first barred from leaving Bengaluru on Wednesday (April 6) due to the CBI LOC. Shortly after the Delhi court's order, however, he tried boarding a US flight again on Thursday night but was allegedly stopped by immigration officers.
Earlier on Thursday, Patel expressed he was "delighted" by the Delhi court's verdict but highlighted the CBI's LOC was issued within six weeks of the release of Price of the Modi Years in December 2021. "I should have been told about the circular, but they chose not to tell me. I had not heard from the CBI since 2020," Patel told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the CBI on Friday also moved the sessions court challenging the trial court's Thursday order that set aside the LOC against Patel and asked the CBI director to issue an apology. On Thursday, Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court asked CBI to allow Patel to travel to the US. It also told the CBI director to acknowledge the "lapse on the part of his subordinate."