Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Verdict on former Amnesty India chief Aakar Patel’s plea to travel to the US today

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A Delhi court on Thursday evening will decide on the petition filed by former Amnesty India chief Aakar Patel, seeking permission to travel to the United States, as well as quashing of the Look Out Circular issued  by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against him.

During the hearing before the Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar, CBI said the LOC was issued against Aakar because he was an influential person and given a chance, he could escape from justice.

The CBI further said that it had orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the same.

When the ACMM asked CBI that had the petitioner been a flight risk, he could have been arrested, or the CBI could have taken surety during the investigation, the agency refused to give any reason. It said, “We don’t have to give detailed reasons. There is a proforma we give.”

Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, representing Patel, strongly opposed the argument.

He said a pre-formatted proforma basis does not work.

“The pre formatted passport no, photo, what is the worthy material with investigating officer (IO) that Aakar Patel falls in an exceptional case?”

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The CBI then informed the Court that there was no provision to tell an accused that an LOC was issued, adding that a huge amount of Rs 26 crore was involved in the case.

The counsel for Aakar Patel said, “Citizens rights can’t be railroaded like this. It is time that we send a suitable reply to the law enforcement agencies and society,” Mir submitted.

He argued that the IO committed a blatant violation of court, procedure, ethics, morality and legal obligation as a public officer and a police officer when he opened the LOC.

Mir urged the Court to ask Bahuguna whether there was any substantial evidence in his case diary, from the time of filing the FIR till date, that necessitated him to open the LOC.

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Patel had contended in his plea that he was invited by a number of institutions in the US to deliver lectures. He also claimed that his passport had been released to him in another case in Gujarat.

The petition stated that he was named in the FIR in a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) case by the CBI and he was summoned and joined investigation in December, 2020.
Advocates Tanveer Ahmed Mir, Vaibhav Suri, Saud Khan represented Aakar Patel.

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