Aircel Founder Moves Madras High Court Challenging Lookout Circular
A banner for Aircel Ltd. is displayed outside a mobile phone store in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Aircel Founder Moves Madras High Court Challenging Lookout Circular

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Aircel founder and industrialist C Sivasankaran has approached the Madras High Court challenging the lookout circular issued against him in connection with a Rs 600-crore loan scam case involving IDBI Bank Ltd.

The lookout circular was issued by the foreigner regional registration officer, Bureau of Immigration.

Admitting the plea, Justice AD Jagadish Chandra directed the Union Home Ministry, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to file their response on it in two weeks.

The petitioner, who claims to be a Seychelles national and its ambassador-at-large holding a diplomatic passport, said the CBI on April 13, 2018 registered an first information report based on directions from the Central Vigilance Commission.

The CVC sought a CBI probe into the sanction of loans to Win Wind Oy, Finland, and Axcel Sunshine Limited by senior managers of the IDBI Bank in violation of guidelines thereby causing wrongful loss of over Rs 600 crore to the bank.

Sivasankaran said his name was erroneously included in the FIR causing damage to his reputation and the diplomatic relationship between Seychelles and India.

He said his name was included as the chairman of Siva Group of Companies when he was not a director, shareholder, employee or chairman of any of the Siva Group of Companies.

He submitted he had ceased to be a director of the company as early as 2008.

Sivasankaran submitted he had never been associated with Axcel Sunshine at any point of time.

He claimed that he was erroneously included in the FIR yet he cooperated with the investigation and honoured the summons from the CBI.

The petitioner said he was scheduled to travel to Italy on January 27 and possessed a valid visa. But he was stopped at the Chennai International Airport by authorities there saying there was a lookout circular issued against him and that he cannot leave the country.

The petitioner said he was shocked to be stopped by the officials.

“The circular is ex facie illegal and violates the diplomatic privileges conferred upon the petitioner,” he submitted.

Sivasankaran said the circular was unwarranted since he was summoned several times to appear before the CBI and he fully co-operated in the investigation.

The petitioner said he has travelled to various countries after the first circular was withdrawn by the authorities and has also appeared before investigating officers regularly after that, “so another circular is not in accordance with the law”.

Therefore, he wanted the court to call for records of the circular and quash it as illegal.

As an interim relief, the petitioner requested the court to allow him to travel abroad.

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