Journalist and author Aakar Patel on Wednesday was prevented from leaving India to fly to the US, on the basis of a look out circular issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Patel said that he was informed by the immigration authorities at the Bengaluru airport that he was not permitted to fly out of the country based on a look out circular.
Patel was scheduled to deliver lectures at a couple of universities in the US.
Patel was the former Executive Director of Amnesty International India until 2019. A year later it was forced to shut operations in the country after the Enforcement Directorate froze the human rights organisation's bank accounts.
The ED took the step a year after the CBI had filed an FIR against Amnesty India on charges of an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
Speaking to BOOM, Patel said that he found out that a look out circular was issued against him at the immigration counter pertaining to the CBI's case against Amnesty India.
Patel also tweeted a February 19, 2022 order from the Surat District and Sessions Court which allowed him to travel to the US under certain conditions.
In 2020, the veteran journalist was arrested by the Surat Police on the basis of an FIR filed by BJP MLA from Surat West, Purnesh Modi and had to surrender his passport to get bail.
What Is A Look Out Circular?
A look out circular is a letter issued by administrative authorities which is used to apprehend or prevent an individual wanted by the police or other investigative authorities from leaving the country.
According to a 2010 judgement by the Delhi High Court, an LOC can be issued by an "investigating agency in cognizable offences under IPC or other penal laws, where the accused was deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in the trial court despite NBWs and other coercive measures and there was likelihood of the accused leaving the country to evade trial/arrest."
Patel told BOOM that he was informed by the CBI and immigration authorities that the LOC issued against him pertained to the 2019 case filed against Amnesty International India.
Patel added that he was last summoned by the CBI in December 2020 following which there have been no updates. The case is tentatively listed on April 11, 2022.
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