NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday sought response from the Central Bureau of Investigation on a plea filed by former Amnesty International India chair Aakar Patel who had sought a direction to remove a Lookout Circular (LOC) issued against him in a case of an alleged FCRA violation.
Patel also 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. He alleged that he was stopped by the immigration authorities at Bangalore International Airport on Wednesday morning while he was boarding a flight to the USA. His application claimed that the action was taken despite an order by a Gujarat court granting him permission to travel to the USA. The application alleged that the LOC was issued without following the due process of law. In this context, the court observed that public servants had to justify their actions and could not act as per “whim and fancy”.
Patel, according to his plea, was stopped from boarding a British Airways flight, scheduled to depart at around 6.50 am on Wednesday. He was told about the LOC being issued against him by the CBI investigating officer. “The applicant suffered the value of his tickets and his immediate program as well on account of the arbitrary and absolute illegal actions on part of the investigating authorities,” added Patel’s plea.
The counsel argued that there were precedents of the higher courts dealing with people’s right to travel abroad and the action of the CBI was in violation of those. He also informed the court that a chargesheet had been filed in the case and Patel was no longer required for the investigation. The CBI has been directed to respond to the contentions on Thursday.