The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy to fly abroad from July 25 to August 15, albeit with certain conditions.
The application was moved by the duo in a plea challenging the lookout circular (LOC) issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in view of the registration of two FIRs dated June 2, 2017, and August 19, 2019 against the Roys.
A single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh said: “Owing to the professional standing of the petitioners and their ties to India, they don’t pose a flight risk. The petitioners are permitted to travel abroad.”
The application was opposed by the respondent on the ground that investigations are pending against both of them.
Appearing for the Roys, senior advocate N. Harihan submitted that his clients wish to travel abroad for business purposes and also to visit Prannoy Roy’s brother.
The court imposed certain conditions such as providing details of their itinerary to the registrar of the court, and directed the Roys to furnish an undertaking stating that they shall return not later than August 15.
While disposing of the application, Justice Singh also said that other conditions will be added to the order.
“Considering the reasons given in the application and the fact that this court had on June 1, 2022 permitted the petitioners to travel… the petitioners are permitted to travel abroad,” the court said.
Earlier, the high court had queried the CBI on the LOC issued against the Roys.
The counsel representing the CBI had, on January 20, said that the lookout circular was still continuing. It was also noted that an earlier LOC had expired on June 19, 2020, and that a second LOC was issued thereafter.
To that, Justice Singh had orally said that “you cannot continue in perpetuity”.
The high court had on June 1, 2022 allowed the Roys to travel abroad stating that the duo had cooperated with the CBI. The single-judge bench of Justice Yashwant Varma had passed the order.
The CBI had argued that the investigation into the allegations of financial irregularities was still on and that the Roys were ‘flight risks’.
However, Justice Varma had concluded that there was no material to show that the couple posed a flight risk.
“It is also not shown or established that they have failed to render cooperation in the ongoing investigation. From the materials placed on behalf of the applicants, it is manifest that the petitioners have deep-rooted ties in the country and consequently the prayer for interim permission as made would merit acceptance,” he had said.
In 2017, the CBI had registered a case against the Roys alleging financial irregularities during the couple’s tenure on the NDTV’s managing committee.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)