The chair of Amnesty International in India Aakar Patel said Wednesday he was prevented from travelling to the US by immigration authorities at the Bengaluru International Airport based on a look-out circular issued by the CBI in connection with a case against Amnesty India in 2019, reported Indian Express.
“When I went to the airport this morning, the immigration said that 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 look-out 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,” he said.
Patel had recently recovered his passport from a Surat court in connection with a case filed by a BJP legislator and was set to travel to the US on Wednesday morning at the invitation of a few universities to deliver lectures. A trial court in Surat had in February ordered the release of the Amnesty chair’s passport for the period between March 1 to May 30 to facilitate his travel to the US. The passport was released on payment of a deposit amount of Rs 2 lakh and other conditions like the details of travel, contact numbers, and places of visit in the US.
“I was supposed to go and speak to some universities in the US—Berkeley and New York University—and my passport had been impounded in a case that one BJP MLA had filed against me in Surat. As part of the condition of bail I had to surrender my passport,” the Amnesty International chair said.
“After I had been asked by the universities in the US to speak in the US, I moved the court and got my passport back. The government opposed it. The public prosecutor opposed it and the court rejected the government argument and let me travel to the US,” he said. “This CBI case refers to my being the head of Amnesty India. They raided us in November 2020. The case is being prosecuted in the CMM court at Rouse Avenue,” he added.