A Delhi court has allowed corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar’s close aide Yasmin Kapoor, an accused in a money-laundering case linked to an aviation scandal, to visit Europe from June 10 to June 28.
The case pertains to negotiations that allegedly favoured foreign private airlines and allegedly caused loss to Air India, the then state-owned carrier which is privately owned by Tata Sons now.
As per a court order accessed by IANS, Kapoor said that she intends to travel to France, Italy, the United Kingdom, for 18 days for business purposes as she has various meetings scheduled with clients and sought the court’s permission.
A Lookout Circular (LOC) has also been issued against Kapoor, who is on regular bail since December 2019.
In the application, she stated that she is a Director in IDFS Services Pvt Ltd, a leading duty-free operator in the South Asia region having operations of many duty-free stores, highlighting the need for her travel.
Opposing her plea, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) argued that co-accused Talwar had fled to Dubai in 2017 and did not appear till he was deported to India on January 31, 2019.
There is every possibility that this accused may also similarly flee, the Special Public Prosecutor said pointing out that Letter Rogatory issued by this court to the UAE is still pending.
On the other hand, Kappor’s counsel argued that the applicant has been granted such permissions earlier also and she has not misused the liberty on any occasion.
Referring to earlier Delhi High Court verdicts, the lawyer argued that the right to travel abroad is a fundamental facet of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
After taking submissions of both parties, Special Judge Anu Grover Baliga, in the order dated May 28, allowed Kapoor to go abroad under certain conditions and suspended the LOC issued against her for the limited period of her travel.
The court directed the applicant not to indulge in any financial activity which has an impact adverse to the case of prosecution and told her to deposit Rs 2 lakh, returnable on her coming back as an additional security.
It also asked her not to try to influence witnesses, if any, in the countries that she is visiting and to share the live locations of the countries she visits.
(Jaison Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)