[Aakar patel] Delhi Court stays order to the extent of requiring apology by CBI Director, Patel not to leave country without court's permission

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A Delhi Court on Friday stayed the order in which Central Bureau of Investigation Director was asked to apologise to Aakar Patel. The Order which had set aside the Look Out Circular issued against him has been stayed to the extent of the observations opining apology by the central's agency's director. The Court has also ordered that Aakar Patel cannot leave the country without court's permission.

Yesterday, while the Court had set aside the Look Out Circular issued against Aakar Patel by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it had also ordered that the CBI Director issue a written apology for lapse on part of his subordinates will go a "long way" in healing his wounds and that it will also uphold the trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution.

Earlier in the day, Aakar Patel had filed a contempt plea against this order, on account of allegations that he was disallowed from leaving the country today morning and was stopped by immigration officials event though the CBI LOC had been set aside. It was the case of Patel that law enforcement was unreachable in wee hours of the night.

The CBI, on the other hand approached the special CBI court challenging the judgment of the Rouse Avenue Court, stating that the compliance of the order was required at 4 PM today and that the contempt, per se, was not maintainable.

Aakar Patel has been accused of financial frauds. It was recently decided by CBI to open a LookOut Circular (LOC) against the accused Aakar Patel to thwart any attempt, if any, by him to escape the process of law and thus to prevent him from leaving India. Thereby, a chargesheet was filed by CBI against the accused persons before the Court Ld CMM, Rouse Avenue District Courts, New Delhi.

Patel had moved the plea before the Delhi Court seeking directions to the CBI for withdrawal of the said Look Out Circular and also seeking permission to travel to United States of America till 30th May 2022 to take up his assignment and lecture series.

MHA has recently alleged in the complaint that in order to evade Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 (FCRA), Amnesty (UK) has remitted Rs. 10 crore to Amnesty's Indian entities, classified as FDI, without MHA's approval.

Further, another Rs. 26 crore was remitted to Amnesty (India), primarily from UK based entities, without MHA's approval.

All such receipts have subsequently been expended on Amnesty's NGO activities in India, in violation of FCRA. Also Amnesty had made several attempts to obtain prior permission or registration under FCRA. The same was not granted. In reaction to repeated denials, Amnesty used commercial methods to evade FCRA.

As per the provisions of section 40 FCRA, “no court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or any officer authorised by that Government. In this behalf sanction under section 40 of the FCRA 2010, has not been received till date and the matter is under process.”

CBI’s investigation revealed the following that:

  • M/s Amnesty, India was incorporated on 10.06.2013 with RoC, Bangalore under the name of M/s Social Sector Consultancy and Support Services India Pvt. Ltd. as a for-profit company. Later, on 20.04.2015, name of company was changed as M/s Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd. The objective of company was to provide research, consultancy and support services in respect of human rights and other social sector issues.
  • M/s Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd had executed 49 contracts for M/s Amnesty International Ltd, UK till Oct 2020. Against the said 49 contracts M/s Amnesty International India P Ltd had received an amount of Rs 70,05,82,132.00 from M/s Amnesty International Ltd, UK.
  • Out of the 49 contracts executed by M/s Amnesty International India P Ltd 9 contracts were in the nature of a Social Programme falling under section 11(1) of FCRA. These contacts were executed by M/s Amnesty International India P Ltd with M/s Amnesty, UK during 2017-17 to 2018-19 against the total amount of Rs 12.31 Cr.
  • Out of the said 09 contracts, 06 were executed through Sh. Mohan Mundkar, the then Head Operations, M/s Amnesty, India and remaining 03 were executed through Sh. Raj Kishor Kapil, COO M/s Amnesty, India. Sh. Raj Kishor Kapil had joined the company in place of Sh. Mohan Mundkar, after he had left the company.
  • Both, Sh. Mohan Mundkar & Sh. Raj Kishor Kapil have stated that the said contracts were executed by them on the directions of Sh. Aakar Patel, the then Executive Director of the company, who was looking after the day to day affairs of the company.
  • Other directors of company were examined and they have stated that Aakar Patel was the key person in the company and holding negotiations with M/s. Amnesty, UK. He was looking after the day-to-day affairs of the company.
  • Further it was duty of the Executive Director to check whether the contracts being executed were within the legal frame work and not violating any law of the land. Further, after getting the contract, the Executive Director was required to create a team who can deliver the services requested by the client.

ACMM CUM ACJ Pawan Kumar of Rouse Avenue Court, while setting aside the look out circular yesterday had relied on Delhi High Court's judgment in Prem Pal & Ors. Vs. Commissioner of Police and to state that the confidence among citizenry has to be restored.

"Considering the facts and circumstances of this case and the law laid down by the high court of Delhi, this court is of the considered view that the LOC is liable to be set, there, the CBI is directed to withdraw/recall the lOC issued against the accused immediately. The CBI is directed to take the appropriate action and give intimation to the concerned authorities regarding the same," the court said.

Court had added that the particular case of Aakar Patel is not one where the applicant has evaded his arrest or did not join the investigation & that there is inherent contradiction in the stand taken by the CBI.

"On one had, the CBI claims that the LOC got issued as the applicant was at flight risk and in contradiction to the that the accused was not arrested during investigation and the chargesheet was filed without arrest. Further, no explanation is forthcoming from the CBI as to what precaution or measure were taken during the investigation or at the time of filing the chargesheet to ensure the presence of accused during the trial," Court's order reads.

Case Title: Aakar Patel Vs. CBI

Tanveer Ahmed Mir appeared for Patel along with Vaibhav Suri & Saud khan. Nikil Goel appeared for CBI.