Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Special CBI court extends the stay on order which set aside LOC in Aakar Patel matter

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A Special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) Court today has extended the stay on the Delhi High Court order which set aside the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by the agency against former Amnesty International India chair Aakar Patel.

The Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann told that till the time revision petition filed by CBI as well as the contempt plea filed by Aakar Patel are not clarified the order will stay pending.

The order in the present matter is likely to be passed on April 13.

Advocate Nikhil Goel, who was speaking on behalf of CBI informed the Court that there are several reason that call for issuance of LOC against Patel

“He is involved in a number of cases. In one, his passport was with the court in Gujarat.”

The Advocate from CBI told that Aakar Patel was after a complaint was filed against him by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA in alleging that Mr. Patel had posted “offensive” tweets against the Ghanchi community in Gujarat.

His passport had had to be surrendered as a condition for bail, and while the passport was given back to him, it was on conditions

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“ACMM says provisions in Code (of Criminal Procedure) will ensure his availability, but that stage hasn’t come,” Goel argued.

He went on to state,

“He is giving newspaper interviews that Government of India has personal vendetta against him. Usually accused comes and says it is a media trial, but here the situation is reverse. Because he is a media man.”

Advocate Goel said Government has no personal animosity towards him, it was an enquiry that was done independently on charges that have been disclosed.

The claim that was set by Patel’s that he suffered monetary loss as a result of not being allowed to board the flights, ,

“Where is the basis of the finding on the monetary loss? It is not our fault if he chooses to fly business class or first class.”CBI advocate asked

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Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir , who stood for Aakar Patel said that the pending case against Patel was filed in 2019 on the basis of a complaint by a politician in Surat.

“After summons were issued, I appeared and deposited my passport as a law abiding citizen. In this case, he (Patel) was called once and went once. It was not like investigation was getting delayed,” 

-he said.

On the monetary loss suffered by Patel, Mir added,

“When I booked my tickets, I booked from my own bank accounts. My program is not only limited to tickets but booking hotel…My wife and I are traveling by British Airways and we’re stopped. We’re told I have an LOC opened. What he (Patel) loses is ₹3.87 lakh then and there.”

Mir submitted that the reasons for according sanction under Section 40 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) to take action against Patel were confabulated.

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“On merits, no reasons (for opening of LOC) were supplied…Finding no reasons were recorded, came an order (by ACMM).”

In anger towards CBI , the advocate for Patel said CBI chargesheet says my client is well-connected outside India and thus could not be allowed to leave the country.

“With such usage of language, you had to have material to show I had previously made attempts to flee India,”  Further, from the case diary of the CBI, there was nothing to show that Patel was a flight risk, Mir argued.

After hearing the parties, the Court said,

“Operation of impugned order to be stayed till final decision of the revision petition.”

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