Aakar Patel sues CBI for contempt of court

The former Amnesty India head said the agency stopped him from flying to America despite a court order setting aside a lookout circular against him

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Aakar Patel was to travel to the US to deliver lectures when he was stopped at the airport on basis of a LOC against him | File Photo: PTI

Aakar Patel, former CEO of Amnesty India, moved a contempt petition against the CBI on Friday (March 8) after he was stopped from flying to America despite a court order setting aside a lookout circular (LOC) against him.

“It is far from believable that an agency like CBI, which is supposed to be available 24×7, being a law enforcement agency conveniently chose to sleep on the order of the Hon’ble Court despite the word ‘immediately’ used by the Hon’ble Court and being aware of the fact that the applicant was travelling at night on 07.04.2022,” the plea said.

The non-availability of the investigating officer despite the order “leaves no manner of doubt that Respondent agency deliberately and wilfully decided to not give effect to the order dated 07.04.2022 passed by this Hon’ble Court.”

Also read: Amnesty chair Aakar Patel moves Delhi court after being stopped at airport


Patel said he had informed the CBI that he had to leave at 11pm on Thursday.

CBI sources told NDTV that they will be challenging the special court’s order giving the relief to Patel. The agency will file an appeal against the CBI court order on Friday morning, the source added.

An LOC is issued by law enforcement agencies to authorities in airports and seaports to stop a person from leaving the country.

Patel tweeted on Thursday that despite the court’s order granting him relief, he was stopped at Bengaluru airport from flying out. “Have been stopped at immigration again. cbi has not taken me off their look out circular,” read his post, which came shortly after the special court ordered the CBI to “immediately” drop the alert against him.

A second tweet read: “Immigration at bangalore airport says nobody at cbi answering their calls.” Patel had also said that he would move the court again.

Patel had told the court that he was apparently on an “exit control list” because of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act case against Amnesty International. This happened even after he got his passport back and the go-ahead from a court specifically for a trip to the US between March 1 and May 30.

The agency, however, said the clearance for travel came from a Gujarat court in a case registered by the Gujarat Police. The airport alert, the agency said, was in connection with a CBI case against Amnesty International India and others for alleged violations linked to foreign funding.

The Special Court in Delhi strongly criticised the agency, saying a lookout circular should not have been issued “merely on the basis of apprehensions arising out of whims and fancies of the investigating agency”.

“This act of the investigating agency has caused monetary loss of around Rs3.8 lakh to the applicant/accused as he has missed his flight,” the court said.