NEW DELHI: A day after a Delhi court stayed a magistrate’s order asking the CBI to withdraw a lookout circular (LOC) against former Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel, his lawyer Tanveer Ahmed Mir on Saturday said that he would plead the court to uphold the order for an apology and compensation to Patel by the agency.
Hearing CBI’s appeal against the magistrate court order, a special CBI court on Friday directed Patel not to leave the country without its permission. The next hearing is scheduled for April 12.
Speaking to The New Indian, senior lawyer Mir said, “As Aakar Patel was flying to the US on April 6, he was stopped at Bangalore international airport. There was a LOC which has been initiated by the CBI in Amnesty International case.”
Patel was scheduled to fly to the US to deliver lectures.
He said that the CBI did not inform Patel about the LOC in advance so that he could have taken appropriate steps.
“In the event that he could not fly, obviously he could not attend his lecture, therefore we moved an application at the Rouse Avenue court and a notice was issued. On April 7, the CBI came to court along with the case diaries. There was an argument during which, the learned ACMM repeatedly called upon the investigating authorities to show the reasons why a LOC was issued,” Mir said.
“The CBI had no reasons to show why, despite the fact that the case was pending since 2019 and the LOC was taken out on December 31, 2021, the LOC was issued. They could not show why there were no reasons recorded in all the applications submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is then submitted in the Immigration department,” he said.
Mir informed that the ACMM court quashed the LOC and directed the CBI chief to tender an apology to Patel on behalf of his subordinates to ensure that such blunders are not committed in the future.
Patel’s counsel said his client suffered monetary losses as he was not allowed to fly by immigration authorities. “Since he was free to fly, he had booked the ticket,” he said.
“CBI officer Himanshu Bahuguna was categorically told by the court to immediately inform the immigration authorities and withdraw the LOC as we had said that our client may be flying. Unfortunately, Bahuguna and other officials of the CBI, who works 24*7, switched off their phones. Therefore, we sent some WhatsApp requests,” he said.
“On next morning (April 8), we came with contempt plea and they (CBI) within their rights filed a revision. The revision yesterday was argued before special CBI judge Santosh Snehi Mann, who is one of the finest judges. The CBI prosecutors intended that the LOC was correct and they did nothing wrong and the learned ACMM passing an order that CBI director should tender an apology was also incorrect,” he said.
He said that the court directed Patel that he cannot fly till April 12 and the matter will now be taken up because the arguments of the defence were not heard on Friday.
“The learned Sessions Judge only stayed the part of the order of the ACMM to the extent of CBI director tendering an apology and that too only till the next day of the hearing. The session court did not stay the ACMM order to the extent that CBI will recall the LOC and file a compliance report,” he said.
Mir said that he would argue before the court on April 12 that the order passed by the ACMM court is fully correct and there was no reason to issue a LOC.
We will argue that LOC is a coercive mechanism, he said.
He said that Patel had approached a court in Surat, Gujarat for traveling abroad earlier. “Similarly he could have also approached the court here,” he said.
“Now all CBI prosecutors are now running because the CBI director has been asked to tender an apology for the first time in the history of India. We will argue in the court that not only the apology should be sustained but the court should also tell the CBI that the loss incurred by Patel should be compensated,” Mir added.
The central probe agency had raided the premises of the human rights watchdog’s offices in Bengaluru and New Delhi in November 2019.