NEW DELHI: Observing that travelling abroad is a matter of right that cannot be denied unless a person is going to abscond, the Supreme Court on Monday sought an explanation from the Enforcement Directorate on the lookout circular (LOC) issued against Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira.

While hearing an application filed by the couple saying that they needed to go abroad for medical treatment but were unable to travel because of the LOC, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said they had gone abroad earlier and returned to face the probe and asked why they were not being allowed now.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the couple, told the bench that Rujira had gone to the airport on June 5 to take a flight but was not allowed to proceed on the ground that an LOC had been issued against her.

The court, thereafter, asked additional solicitor general S V Raju, appearing for the ED, about the basis for the LOC. It issued notice to the agency and asked the ASG to convey the ED’s stand by Friday.
“You are examining him for one year? Investigation is pending, you call him as and when required. On what basis did you issue a lookout notice? Travelling abroad is also a right unless a person is going to abscond. Why do you create multiplicity of proceedings unnecessarily?” the bench asked Raju who assured that he would be ready with an answer on July 28 when the case will be taken up for hearing.
The apex court had in May last year stayed the summons issued to Banerjee and his wife to appear before the ED in its Delhi office and had said the agency could interrogate them in its Kolkata office.
Banerjee and his wife had approached the SC after their plea was dismissed by Delhi high court.
They challenged the summons issued to them for appearance in Delhi in connection with a money laundering probe linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal.
The 35-year-old MP represents the Diamond Harbour seat and is the national general secretary of TMC.


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