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Again stopped at immigration check of Bengaluru Airport, says Aakar Patel

|HT|


Former Amnesty India chief Aakar Patel on Friday said he was stopped from flying again, a day after a Delhi court delivered a sharp rebuke to the CBI over a lookout circular (LOC) against him. The activist has now filed a contempt petition against the central probe agency. On Thursday, a Delhi court had quashed the LoC against the former Amnesty India chairman. The CBI was also told to apologise to Patel acknowledging the lapse on the part of his subordinate.

“… most unfortunately, the applicant was again stopped at the immigration check of the Bengaluru International Airport for the same LOC. The officers at the immigration requested for a confirmation of the order from the investigation officers of the case. However, in complete disregard to the order passed and what transpired in the court, the investigating officer instead of being available for the compliance of the order chose to switch off the mobile phone," the petition read.

On account of “deliberate disobedience and disregard” of the order, the petition said, “the applicant became a victim of the illegal and egregious act of the respondent agency." “The investigating officer switching off the phone speaks volumes about the respondent agency's intent of bulldozing the valuable fundamental right of the applicant.” The plea also says that the investigating officer - who was a witness to the court proceedings on Thursday - “was informed that he would be required to offer his cooperation with the immigration department.”

The LOC was issued against Patel in a case of alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). He was earlier stopped by immigration authorities at the Bangalore International Airport on Wednesday while he was boarding a flight to the United States (US).

On Thursday, a Delhi court set aside the LOC and said that it should not be issued on the whims and fancies of the investigating agency as it has a bearing on the fundamental right of an individual.

“It is correct that the discretion for moving the application of LOC lies with the investigation agency but the discretion cannot be exercised arbitrarily without any justifiable reasons or grounds. In the present scenario, the Director, CBI is expected to sensitize the officials who are part of the issuance of LOC. It is further expected that accountability of the concerned officials in this case be fixed,” the judge said in its order. Meanwhile, the CBI has also filed a revision plea against Thursday's trial court order. The hearing of CBI'S revision is also listed for Friday.


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