The Immigration officials at the Kempegowda International Airport Limited (KIAL) stopped the former Amnesty India International Chief Aakar Patel from travelling to the United States. The officials cited that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued a lookout notice for Patel in relation to a case against Amnesty India in 2019. Patel had recently recovered his passport from the Surat Court and was set to fly to the US at the invitation of several universities to deliver lectures. Moreover, Surat's trial court released Patel's passport from March 1 to May 30 to allow his travel to the US.
'Look Out Circular' Against Patel
Patel took to Twitter to express his shock and displeasure at the airport on Wednesday morning. He wrote, "When I went to the airport this morning, the immigration said I am on the Look Out Circular (LOC) from the CBI. This was something that I did not know. I have presented myself to the CBI whenever they have called me. I don't know why should they have a lookout circular for someone they know about," Patel, 51, said on Wednesday morning. "I found out that I was on the lookout list only when I went to the airport. It happened after check-in at immigration. We put our bags in and had to go through immigration", The Indian Express reported.
ED Searched Amnesty India Properties In 2018
The CBI had raided Amnesty International India in November 2020, and the case against the same is under trial in the CMM Court at Rouse Avenue. The former journalist mentioned that a BJP legislator filed the case against him during his tenure as the Chief of the Indian arm of the international organization. Patel had to submit his passport as a security for the bail; however, when several international universities, like Berkeley and New York University, invited him for delivering lectures. After that, Patel applied to the Surat Court for retrieving his passport, where the government and the public prosecutor strongly objected.
The Enforcement Directorate had searched the properties of Amnesty India after accusations of the organization dodging the rules of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) after being denied registration under the Ministry of Home Affairs.