HC asks CBI whether businessman Sana needed for probe in case against Moin Qureshi

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday directed the CBI to inform it whether a businessman against whom a look out circular (LOC) was issued in connection with a corruption case, involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi and the agency’s ex-director A P Singh, was required for further investigation.

Moin Qureshi

Justice Najmi Waziri also asked the CBI the purpose of issuing LOC against Satish Babu Sana while observing that there cannot be an open LOC like this and the agency has to disclose what it wants to do.

“You seek instructions as to what you want. Find out whether he is required for any further investigation,” the court told CBI’s counsel Sanjeev Bhandari.

The court was hearing a plea by Sana seeking the quashing of an LOC issued against him despite the fact that he was appearing before the CBI every time he was summoned for questioning in the case.

Senior advocates Salman Khurshid and Mohit Mathur, representing Sana, submitted that he has appeared before CBI in response to the notices a number of times and he has not been called for questioning for last one year.

They said there was no complaint that the businessman was not cooperating in the investigation, and he was not an accused in the case.

Bhandari contended that Sana’s role has come up in the case and the purpose of issuing LOC against him was that he should not leave the country.

He claimed that Sana was required for further investigation and urged the court to direct him to give details of his assets and properties as he wanted to go abroad where he has business.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 28, asking Sana to place on record the details of his unencumbered assets.

The court had earlier sought the CBI stand on Sana’s plea seeking quashing of the LOC on the ground that he has not been named in the FIR.

He had earlier contended that despite appearing before the CBI each time he was summoned for questioning in the case, an LOC has been issued against him preventing him from leaving the country.

His counsel had said that his client was not named in the FIR, yet an LOC was issued against him.

Sana said he came to know about the bar on his foreign travel on September 25 last year when he was going to France for his son’s university admission.

In his petition, Sana has said that the FIR was lodged on February 17, 2017 and since then he has travelled abroad 15-16 times and returned to India each time.

He has alleged that the LOC issued against him is “unfounded, illegal, malafide, arbitrary and violates his fundamental rights under the Constitution”.

He has also contended that according to a Ministry of Home Affairs office memorandum of 2010 and a high court judgement of the same year, an LOC can be issued only when a cognisable offence under the IPC or other penal laws has been alleged against an accused.

It can also be issued if an accused was “deliberately evading arrest”, not appearing before trial court despite issuance of non-bailable warrants or if there is a likelihood that he may evade trial by leaving the country, the petition has said.

The FIR, for which Sana was being questioned, was lodged in 2017 by the CBI after the ED and Income Tax department’s probe into money laundering and black money allegations against Qureshi allegedly revealed involvement of senior public servants.

The ED had written a letter to the CBI in this regard and it had in 2017 lodged an FIR against the meat exporter as well as its former director A P Singh and several others.