Aakar Patel appears to be a special citizen above the law as evident in the manner in which the judiciary has been treating him. A Delhi court had permitted Patel to travel abroad but the order was subsequently stayed by a Special CBI court. The Lookout Circular was issued by CBI against Aakar Patel as Amnesty India is facing probes for money laundering and violation of FCRA norms.
CBI’s lookout circular against Aakar Patel
The order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) asking CBI to take Patel off the LOC (Look Out Circular) was stayed by the CBI court along with the part that asked CBI to ‘apologize’ to Patel. Special Public Prosecutor Nikhil Goel, who appeared on CBI’s behalf, argued that the ACMM “seems to suggest that if you are not arrested in an investigation, a LOC as a matter of rule cannot be issued”. He informed the court that the agency arresting somebody first in order to issue a LOC would violate the person’s fundamental rights.
“Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann stayed the order by the ACMM Pawan Kumar and directed Patel not to leave the country without the permission of the Court. The CBI had argued against the court order saying that no time was given to them to challenge the order, as they were asked to withdraw the circular immediately”, noted OpIndia.
The CBI court also held that the agency had to be given reasonable time to appeal against the order which asked it to withdraw the LOC ‘immediately. “There has to be a reasonable time for a party, who feels that the order isn’t favorable to approach the authority. The remedy is there”, the CBI judge held
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday (April 8) refused to file a compliance report in connection to a Delhi court’s direction to set aside the Lookout Circular issued by the probe agency against Amnesty International’s former India head, Aakar Patel.
While refusing to file the compliance report, the central agency highlighted that they have already approached the court seeking a revision in the matter. Patel, who got relief from the court that set aside the CBI’s Lookout Circular restraining him from going abroad, on Friday again approached the court citing that he was stopped a second time at the airport despite a favorable order.
Patel also sought directions from the court to summon the investigating officer in relation to the incident. On April 7, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar of the Rouse Avenue court had also sought a written apology from the CBI director.
“In this case, a written apology from the head of CBI, i.e., Director CBI acknowledging lapse on part of his subordinate to the applicant would go a long way in not only healing wounds of the applicant but also upholding trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution,” the court order read. What can be more appalling than the judiciary asking an investigating agency to apologize to a scamster?
It had taken note of the submissions of Patel’s counsel Tanvir Ahmad Mir, who argued that the Circular was issued without any procedure, and highlighted the fundamental rights of the writer. There was no question of not cooperating with the probe agency by his client, he said.
Patel was on his way to the US when he was stopped from leaving the country at the Bengaluru airport on Wednesday citing the Circular issued against him by the CBI in connection with an FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 case.
Amnesty International’s FCRA Case
London-based Amnesty operated in Bharat through dubious means such as floating commercial firms and routing money for commercial purposed and it used pliable journalists for the same. A company named Social Sector Research Consultancy and Support Services (India) Private Limited was floated in June 2013 and subsequently renamed itself Amnesty International India Private Limited in June 2015 with pro-Congress columnist Aakar Patel as its chief.
The financial fraud including money laundering that began in September 2015 came under the Home Ministry’s scanner as late as June 2019. Subsequently, cases were registered by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Amnesty uses four dubious entities to bring in foreign funds illegally as none of these have FCRA licenses. Investigations by the ED revealed that money to the tune of Rs 100 crores came in from London. Despite such serious violations, the judiciary bends over backward to favor the likes of Patel.
Judiciary’s double standards
The judiciary seems to have a special liking towards those accused of fraud. It had allowed Rana Ayyub the privilege of flying abroad and has extended the same courtesy to Patel. Courts, however, never have time for the common man who is made to run from pillar to post and several undertrials languish in jails for years together.
The Judiciary also seems to have some strange definition of what constitutes a crime and who is a criminal as is evident from several pronouncements made by the courts in recent times.
There is hardly an element of doubt that the judiciary has been hijacked by controversial left-liberal-secular elites. Not only did the Delhi HC permit fraud accused Rana Ayyub to travel abroad albeit with pre-conditions but it also opined that 10-12 crores are not ‘a big amount’.
Even more intriguing is the fact that she was granted a hearing within 24 hours while ordinary citizens struggle to even get their cases listed and are made to wait for months and even years. Pointing out the disparity and privilege accorded to ‘celebrities’ lawyer Amrit Pal Singh Khalsa had opined, “Thousands of bail applications have been pending for months and years and courts in the country don’t have time to hear them. But if a celebrity’s case comes, they postpone common citizens’ case and hear it on priority. Forget about the common man, it is the court which is making a mockery of laws and rules of the country”.
However, this shouldn’t really surprise us if precedents are anything to go by. Earlier, Lutyens gang lawyer Prashant Bhushan was let off with a token fine of one rupee after weeks of dilly-dallying and despite the court having found him guilty of “serious contempt of court”.
Such privileges, given to scamsters only because they are part of a cabal that exercises an iron grip over the judiciary, once again highlight why judicial reforms need to be undertaken on a war footing.
(With IANS inputs)
(Featured Image Source: India Today)