Delhi Court stays order allowing Aakar Patel to travel to US

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday directed Aakar Patel, the former Amnesty International India head, not to leave the country without its prior permission and stayed an order directing the CBI to withdraw a Lookout Circular (LOC) issued against him in a case relating to the alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

The order came on a revision plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier in the day.

Granting interim relief to the CBI in the matter, Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann directed Patel stayed the earlier court order.

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During the course of the hearing, the CBI’s counsel argued that the probe agency was not given time to challenge the order.

Vehemently opposing the relief to Patel, the CBI also refused to file a compliance report in relation to Thursday’s order highlighting that they have already approached the court seeking a revision in the matter.

Taking note of the CBI counsel Nikhil Goel, the court said it is necessary to give the opportunity to file a formal reply and stayed the earlier court order in revision.

Further, the matter has been posted for a detailed hearing on April 12.

On Thursday, apart from recalling the CBI’s Lookout Circular, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar of the Rouse Avenue court had also sought a written apology from the CBI director.

“In this case, a written apology from the head of CBI, i.e., Director CBI acknowledging lapse on part of his subordinate to the applicant would go a long way in not only healing wounds of the applicant but also upholding trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution,” the court order read.

Journalist and writer Patel was on his way to the US when he was stopped from leaving the country at the Bengaluru airport on Wednesday citing a lookout circular issued against him by the CBI in connection with an FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 case.

Patel had previously worked on topics related to 2002 Gujarat riots and presented a report “Rights and Wrongs” and has been writing columns for publications in India and Pakistan.

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