A Delhi court on Thursday directed the CBI to withdraw a look out circular issued against Aakar Patel, author and chair of Amnesty International India Board, in an alleged case of violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar directed the probe agency to file a compliance report and tender a written apology to Patel.
During the arguments, the CBI opposed Patel’s application against the circular saying there was likelihood of him fleeing from justice if he was allowed to leave the country.
The CBI said that Patel was highly influential. “We are not demanding for arrest. We are saying he should not cross the country,” the agency said, according to PTI.
The court noted the CBI submission that the investigation was continuing since 2021, and said if Patel was a flight risk, he would have been arrested. “He could have ran away during the investigation also then,” the court said.
Patel’s counsel opposed the CBI’s argument, claiming that “citizens rights are being railroaded by the agency”. “It is time that we send a suitable reply to law enforcement agencies and society,” he told the court.
Patel’s application further sought the court’s permission to visit the US to “take up his foreign assignment and lecture series organised by various universities” till May 30. It submitted that Patel was stopped by immigration authorities at the Bangalore International Airport on Wednesday while he was boarding a flight to the US. The application claimed that the action was taken despite an order by a Gujarat court granting him permission to travel abroad.
This report, its headline have been updated after the pronouncement of the order.