Justice Talwant Singh recuses himself from case related to LOC issued against ex-Amnesty International India head Aakar Patel


Justice Talwant Singh of Delhi High Court on Wednesday recused himself from hearing a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation against a Special Court order that set aside the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by CBI against former Amnesty International India chairman Aakar Patel

On April 16, the Special Court had upheld a Magistrate court verdict that set aside the CBI LOC against Patel.

Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann however had granted relief to CBI by rejecting the Magistrate direction to the CBI Director to tender a written apology to Patel.

The CBI wanted to challenge the order by Mann's concerning the issuance of the LOC against Patel.

When the matter was taken up by the Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who was representing the CBI, and presented relevant paragraphs of the Special Court order that the agency found challenging.

The Additional Solicitor, however, made it clear that there was no grievance against the setting aside of the LOC issued against Aakar Patel.

"We believe that this reasoning will be quoted and applied in all other cases," Raju informed Court.

Aakar Patel was represented in court by Advocate Tanvir Ahmed Mir,who clearly said that

"It can't be quoted anywhere because CBI Court is not a court of record. What is the apprehension?"He opposed the plea by CBI

The single-judge, however, subsequently, recused from the matter.

The LOC was issued against Patel in case pertaining to FCRA through "commercial" methods after Amnesty UK remitted ₹10 crore and subsequently ₹26 crore to its India entities without the approval of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Aakar Patel was therefore not allowed to leave the the country.

Aakar Patel after being
refrained from leaving the country moved to
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court, which went in his favour as the LOC was set aside and a direction was sent to the CBI director to render apology to the victim.

The ACMM order, Patel again booked tickets to the US, but again his travel couldn’t be possible as CBI did not withdraw the LOC.

CBI in the meantime filed for a revision application before the Special Court.
assailing the ACMM

CBI specifically challenged paragraphs 26 to 28 and 38 of the Special Court order insofar as they lay down that recourse to LOC can be taken only on co-existence of the following three circumstances:

(i) Look Out Corner Notice can be issued only in cognizable offences; and

(ii) Accused is deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in trial court despite non-bailable warrants (NBWs) and other coercive measures; and

(iii) There is likelihood of the accused leaving the country to evade trial/arrest.