Despite a Delhi court ruling in his favour and even asking the Central Bureau of Investigation to apologise for issuing a lookout notice in his name to stop him from travelling, author and former head of Amnesty International India Aakar Patel was once again stopped from leaving the country on Thursday night.
“Have been stopped at immigration again. cbi has not taken me off their look out circular,” Patel tweeted on Thursday night, adding, “immigration at Bangalore airport says nobody at CBI answering their calls.”
On Thursday, a Delhi court allowed rights activist and Chair of Amnesty International India Board Aakar Patel to travel to the United States and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to withdraw a lookout circular (LOC) issued against him. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar granted relief to Patel who will be allowed to travel to various US universities to deliver lectures.
The court also asked the CBI director to issue a written apology to Patel acknowledging the lapse on part of his subordinate and said that this will go a long way in not only healing the wounds of the applicant but also upholding the trust of the public in the premier institution.
The former journalist, who was invited by three universities in the US to deliver lectures on various subjects, including his book ‘Price of the Modi Years’, was initially prevented from leaving Bengaluru on April 6 based on a CBI LOC.
Patel moved a Delhi court, which ordered the removal of his name from the CBI LOC on Thursday.
Soon after the order, Patel tried to board a flight to the US on Thursday night, but was reportedly stopped by immigration officials on account of no changes made to the existing LOC.
The CBI prosecutor told the court that this offence involved Rs 26 crore and since he was an economic offender, he must not be allowed to leave the country. “We keep saying that we don’t arrest economic offenders in this country. We are not asking for his arrest, we are simply saying he must not leave the country,” the prosecutor submitted.
Patel reasoned that the move was a result of the Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case against Amnesty International India. The ED case was based on an FIR filed by the CBI in connection with the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (criminal conspiracy).