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Delhi HC suspends bank look out circular against businessman, allows travel abroad

ANI | Updated: Oct 29, 2021 11:54 IST

New Delhi [India], October 29 (ANI): The Delhi High court has allowed a Dubai based businessman, whose company was accused of fraud to the tune of Rs 300 Crores, to travel abroad and suspended a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by Bank of Baroda against him.
Earlier this month, while travelling to London the businessman was apprehended at Delhi airport based on a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by Bank of Baroda.
A bench of Rekha Palli in an order passed on October 27, after considering the submission made by the parties, said, "I am inclined to suspend the LOC for a short period and consequently grant permission to the petitioner to travel to Germany, Switzerland and UK for a period of eight weeks"
"Having considered the submissions of the counsel for the parties and perused the record, I find that it is an admitted position that till date there is no FIR against the petitioner in respect of the purported dues of the company. It is also not denied that there is no allegation against the petitioner of his not cooperating with the investigation," the Court said.
Advocate Arun Aggarwal appearing for the Bank of Baroda submitted that the Petitioner's Company account has been declared fraud by the Bank and the amount of fraud committed is more than Rs 300 Crores and objected to the request for suspension of the LOC.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal and Advocate Rhythm Aggarwal appearing for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has challenged the Office Memorandum issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs which empowered banks to issue the look out circulars.

Aggarwal argued that the circular had granted Banks the powers to issue Look out Circulars, which can only be issued by an Investigating Agency and granting the said rights to a bank is arbitrary and is being misused by banks.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal submitted that the said issuance of LOC by a Bank is in complete violation of the principle of Audi Alteren Partem, i.e. the right of the party to get a fair hearing. In fact, such empowerment takes away the basic right of the other party i.e. "to be informed".
He argued that the case of his client is one such case wherein he was neither informed nor heard before the issuance of the LOC against him. He argued that that people come to know about LOCs against their names only at the Airport when they were prevented from travelling abroad.
Lawyers also submitted that no investigation was pending against their client, and no warrants or any court summons were issued.
They further contended that the LOC has been issued by the Bank due to some defaults in repayment of loan amounts, owing to the precarious economic conditions being faced by most companies in the last few years on account of the covid-19 pandemic, and thus no LOC could have been issued against his client; and the issuance of such LOC in these circumstances would seriously prejudice client's right to carry on his business, for which purpose, he has to regularly travel abroad.
The bench while suspending the LOC issued against the businessman imposed the condition that the petitioner shall furnish security for a sum of Rs 5 crores to the satisfaction of the Registrar General of the Court.
The security could be furnished either in the form of a bank guarantee, a fixed deposit or in the form of any unencumbered property belonging to the petitioner or his relative, who will also furnish an undertaking to the Registrar General that they shall not create any third-party interest in such property during the petitioner's travel abroad. (ANI)