Mumbai: 'Can Look Out Circular Be Downgraded?' Bombay HC Asks SFIO

Mumbai: 'Can Look Out Circular Be Downgraded?' Bombay HC Asks SFIO

The question was posed by a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande while hearing a petition filed by one Shikha Kapadia seeking to quash the LOC issued against her in September 2019. The LOC was issued against her following a probe launched against her and her employer company by the SFIO.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 09:53 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File Image

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday questioned the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under which provision or circular it could downgrade a Look Out Circular (LOC).

The question was posed by a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande while hearing a petition filed by one Shikha Kapadia seeking to quash the LOC issued against her in September 2019. The LOC was issued against her following a probe launched against her and her employer company by the SFIO.

SFIO advocate SK Halwasia informed the bench on Tuesday that it was “downgrading the LOC” issued against Kapadia wherein she will not have to seek permission before travel.

“We are downgrading the LOC to an extent where she (Kapadia) does not have to seek permission every time she needs to travel. The immigration officers will inform the SFIO every time she travels,” Halwasia submitted. The bench then questioned under which provision of law or circular or guideline was such a downgrade being done.

“Can you downgrade a LOC? First time we are hearing this downgrading. Show us under which provision are you doing this downgrading. Show us any circular or provision or guideline that permits such a downgrade. We have not come across any such provision,” the bench said. The high court kept the matter for further hearing next week and asked the officer concerned of the SFIO to remain present physically or via video conference.

Kapadia’s plea seeks quashing of the LOC contending that it is arbitrary, illegal and an abuse of law. She was working as a company secretary and compliance officer with CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited.

The SFIO initiated the probe in 2019 after allegations of fraudulent transactions were levelled against the company and Kapadia. The SFIO then issued a LOC against her in September 2019.

Her advocate Aniket Nikam pointed out that during the last hearing, the court had asked the SFIO to produce a copy of the LOC but the same has not been submitted. The HC has asked the probe agency to produce the same on the next date of hearing.

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