Wednesday, April 17, 2024

CBI issues look-out circular for ex-Amnesty Aakar Patel

The Centre has given the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) permission to prosecute Amnesty International India and its former chief Aakar Patel for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). CBI officials informed the Delhi Sessions Court that the government has given a go-ahead to prosecute Aakar Patel, meaning the court may now take cognisance of the chargesheet filed on December 31, 2021. The CBI had earlier sought the sanction of the Centre to prosecute the human rights organisation due to alleged violations of the FCRA, after 2 years of investigation.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Amnesty India and its former chief Aakar Patel in December over alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. However, the trial was delayed due to a lack of sanction from the Centre. The CBI on Monday submitted a letter from the Centre granting the sanction to prosecute Aakar Patel to the court.

The prosecution was delayed due to the mandatory clause of Section 40 of the FCRA. Section 40 bars any court to take cognisance of the offence under the FCRA without the previous sanction of the Central Government. The Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue submitted the chargesheet of the case against Patel and Amnesty International India under Section 11 read with Sections 35 and 39 of the Act after a two-year probe into alleged violations. The court will take cognisance of the matter on April 18, CBI officials said.

Meanwhile, the investigation agency had also issued a Look Out Circular against Amnesty International India Chair Aakar Patel following the chargesheet. It was filed as open LoC alert immigration authorities at airports and ports, who prevent a person from leaving the country. A magistrate court had earlier allowed withdrawal of the LoC, however, it was overturned last Friday by a Special Judge.

The court asked Aakar Patel not to travel abroad without their permission. It stopped Patel from leaving Bengaluru Airport for the US where he was scheduled to deliver academic lectures at various universities. The case against Amnesty International India was registered in November 2019, and will have its hearing in the coming months. The case mentions Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), Indians For Amnesty International Trust (IAIT), Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT), Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF) and others in it.

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