New Delhi: Upholding a trial court order removing the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against Huawei Telecommunications India Chief Executive Officer Xiongwei (David) Li, the Delhi High Court has allowed the Chinese national to travel abroad on depositing Rs 5 crore.
“The directions qua the imposition of the conditions of deposit of an FDR of an amount of Rs 5 crore drawn on a nationalised Indian Bank and forfeiture thereof on non-joining of the investigation and non-appearance as and when directed by the trial court have been imposed to take into account the eventuality of the alleged commission of an offence punishable under Section 276C(1)(i) of the of the Income Tax Act, 1969 read with Section 278B(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1969, if any, committed by the respondent,” Single-Judge Justice Anu Malhotra said in an order passed on Tuesday.
“The allegations against the petitioner do not relate to any aspect of the departure of the respondent being detrimental to the sovereignty or security or integrity of India nor to the bilateral relations with any country nor to the strategic interest of the country nor is it brought forth in any manner by the petitioner that the respondent was potentially likely to indulge in any act of terrorism or offences against the State or that his departure ought not be permitted in the larger interest at any given point in time,” the court averred.
It highlighted that “Undoubtedly taking into account the factum that there is no extradition treaty of our country with China, the respondent thus falls within the category of a flight risk, but, the factum that he is alleged to have committed only a non-cognizable and an alleged bailable offence can also not be overlooked. The verdicts that the petitioner has relied upon all relate to alleged commission of non-bailable offences in which the issuance of the LOCs have been upheld in as much as they relate to offences inter alia punishable under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the non available offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.”
In the earlier order while removing the LOC against Li, the trial court had said that the Chinese company is “not a fly-by-night operator, and considering that it generates considerable revenue from India, it is prudent that a condition is imposed upon payment of salary, bonus, ESOPs, and other benefits”.
On May 1, Xiongwei was stopped at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in the wake of the LOC. He was set to attend an official meeting of his company in Bangkok.
Earlier, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for the petitioner, said despite repeated requests, the authorities didn’t provide any reason for the LOC.
In the earlier hearing, in an apparent reference to a dialogue from a Bollywood movie, Li had told the court that “I am a Chinese and not a terrorist”.
As per one of the contentions of the Income Tax Department, Huawei had a “willful failure” of providing account books and relevant documents during a search at the Chinese tech giant’s Gurugram office.