The court has suspended the LON for 10 days and allowed the businessman to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has given a businessman relief from a lookout notice (LON) issued against him by the CBI, six years after an offence was registered against him. The court has suspended the LON for 10 days and allowed the businessman to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The court has also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete the investigation within one month, after which, the LON cannot be issued.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharti Dangre was hearing a petition filed by the businessman, Afzal Khan, who was booked under sections 420 (cheating) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The petitioner said that on June 20, 2018, the CBI asked him for a copy of his passport and a photograph.
On August 15, 2018, immigration officers restrained him from travelling to the UAE on grounds that the CBI had issued a LON against him. On December 24, 2018, he requested the CBI to provide details of the LON but the CBI refused to oblige.
CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar argued that one Paul E. Lyngdoh, branch manager, State Trading Corporation of India (STC), had registered a complaint against Mr Khan and 20 others under various sections of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act. Advocate Venegaonkar expressed apprehensions that Mr Khan might abscond and never return to India. He also showed the court the FIR and requested it to dismiss the application.
Mr Khan’s counsel, Sujay Kantawala, argued that Mr Khan had travelled 17 times since registration of the FIR and also remained present before the CBI eight times since. Advocate Kantawala also submitted details of when Mr Khan had been present before the CBI.
He argued that there was absolutely no material supporting the CBI’s apprehensions. The court then noted, “The LON could not have been issued after six years of registration of the crime and there are no documents with the CBI to claim that the accused would abscond”.