Special CBI court upholds ACMM order to withdraw LOC against Aakar Patel

A special Central Bureau of Investigation[CBI] Court in New Delhi on Saturday upheld the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate[ACMM] directing the CBI to withdraw a lookout circular[LOC] against the former chairperson of Amnesty International India Aakar Patel. However, the special judge Santosh Snehi Mann, said that she has upheld the ACMM order subject to Patel appearing before the Trial Court within a week to furnish a bond of his appearance to the satisfaction of the trial court and that he will not leave the country without the permission of the trial court.

In addition, the special judge set aside the ACMM order to the extent it had asked the CBI director to apologise to Patel acknowledging the lapse on the part of his subordinates, in issuing a lookout circular against him without any justification. Besides, the direction to the CBI to fix the responsibility for the issuance of the LOC has also been quashed by the special judge. The judge held that LOC was issued on wrong interpretation and understanding of the law and not out of any malice, hence, not a fit case for fixing accountability for the issuance of LOC.

The judge did not approve of the CBI’s argument that Patel may leave the country to evade the process of law for he is an influential person and well connected with entities outside India. The judge said “This reason does not fall in the situation and circumstances required for issuance of LOC as per law and thus has no force of law to support. Subjective ratification of the IO to assess the situation for LOC must flow from the objective criteria”.

The judge also pointed out that  Accused has joined the investigation, whenever called and it is not the case of the CBI that accused in any manner either tried to hamper the investigation or tamper with evidence. Investigation is complete and the matter is at stage of consideration of the charge-sheet by the Trial Court for cognisance. Once the matter is in the Court, circumstances warranting opening of LOC will arise only when accused does not appear in the Trial Court despite NBWs and other coercive measures.”

Click here to read the order.