Amnesty International India Chief Aakar Patel has been barred by a special CBI court to leave the country without its permission. The CBI court also stayed a magistrate’s order that had asked the CBI director to apologise to the writer-activist.
Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann passed the order on a petition filed by the central agency seeking revision of the order passed by the magisterial court which asked the agency to apologise to Patel.
Advocate Nikhil Goel, appearing for the CBI submitted in the court that no time was given to them to challenge the order. He also added that the judge seems to suggest that if the accused isn’t arrested during the investigation, LOC cannot be issued.
“To say that because I haven’t arrested somebody and that no LOC can be issued is against the basic purpose of issuing an LOC. We are dealing with a situation where there is a gap between end of investigation and beginning of proceedings before the court.”Advocate Nikhil Goel
Goel further added that Patel tried leaving the country, without giving any prior information and leaving no chance for the agency to approach the court.
Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, appearing for Patel, argued that Patel had already informed the IO that he would leave by midnight and the impugned order clearly said that it is least expected from the CBI to inform the immigration authorities immediately.
An order was passed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Pawan Kumar on Thursday to withdraw the LOC immediately and apologise to the activist and file a compliance report by April 30. The court noted that the applicant suffered mental harassment as he was not allowed to leave the country without permission.
“The applicant can approach the court or other forum for the monetary compensation. This court is of the considered opinion that in this case, a written apology from the head of the CBI Director, CBI acknowledging the lapse on the part of his subordinate, to the applicant would go a long way in not only healing the wounds of the applicant but also upholding the trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution.”
However, Justice Mann told advocate Mir to ensure that his client does not leave the country without the permission of the court.
“Ensure that your client doesn’t do any misadventure. He is not going to leave”, Patel had tried to leave for the US on Thursday. He was stopped by immigration authorities at the Bangalore International Airport on Wednesday while he was boarding a flight to the US.
Patel had accused the central agency of harassing him and “suffocating his fundamental rights”.
The court posted the matter for further proceedings on April 12.