Amnesty International India chair Aakar Patel filed a contempt plea against the Central Bureau of Investigation in a Delhi court on Friday, a day after he was stopped for the second time from flying out of India, reported The Indian Express.
In his application, Patel has sought action against the investigating officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation for not complying of the court’s order to withdraw the look-out notice against him.
Patel was first stopped from travelling to the United States from Bengaluru airport on Wednesday. Patel had said that immigration officials told him that he had been put on an exit control list by the CBI.
This was despite a court ordering that his passport be returned to him for a lecture tour of the US between March 1 and May 30.
Patel then moved a Delhi court, which directed the CBI to immediately withdraw the look-out circular. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar also asked the central agency director to issue a written apology to Patel acknowledging the lapse on part of his subordinate.
However, on Thursday evening, Patel said that he was again stopped at the airport despite the court order.
Meanwhile, the CBI has also moved a Delhi court against the order to withdraw the look-out notice, reported PTI.
A look-out notice is usually issued to prevent a person from leaving the country and remains valid up to a year or till the agency cancels or renews it.
Look-out notice against Patel
On Wednesday, Patel had tweeted that a CBI officer had called him to say that the look-out notice was issued as the Narendra Modi government had filed a case against Amnesty International India.
The organisation has been accused of money laundering and criminal conspiracy in a case filed by the central agency. Amnesty International India has vehemently denied the allegation.
The central agency has said that the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust was given permission during 2011-’12 for receiving foreign contributions from the Amnesty International-United Kingdom. However, it was cancelled following adverse inputs received from security agencies.
The agency alleged that the Indians for Amnesty International Trust and the Amnesty International India Private Limited were then formed in 2012-’13 and 2013-’14 to “escape the FCRA [Foreign Contribution Regulation Act] route”.
In September 2020, the human rights organisation said it was forced to shut its operations as the Indian government had frozen its bank accounts. The group had said its “lawful fundraising model” was being portrayed as money laundering because Amnesty India had challenged the “government’s grave inactions and excesses”.
The Centre had called the allegations against it unfortunate, exaggerated and “far from the truth”. Amnesty’s “glossy statements” about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power were nothing but a “ploy to divert attention” from their activities, which were in “clear contravention” of Indian laws, the government had said.