Look Out Notice

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    • Recently, Journalist Rana Ayyub was stopped in Mumbai based on a look out circular (LOC) issued by the ED, which is investigating her in a case of alleged money laundering.

    What is Look Out Circular (LOC)?

    • An LOC is issued to make sure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country.
    •  It is mostly used at immigration checkpoints at international airports and seaports by the immigration branch.
    • In certain cases, the police can approach a court asking for the restriction of a person’s movement outside the country, when that person is a suspect and there is an apprehension that they may not join the investigation at a later stage. 
    • The subject of an LOC can challenge the circular and get relief from a court.
    • Issued by:
      • An LOC can be initiated by a large number of authorised officers, including an officer not below the rank of deputy secretary, an officer not below the rank of joint secretary in the state government, a district magistrate or superintendent of police, designated officers of various law enforcing and security agencies, a designated officer of Interpol, an officer not below the rank of additional director in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
      • In 2018, the government also empowered the heads of public sector banks to directly request the authorities to issue an LOC against wilful defaulters to prevent them from leaving the country.
        •  So now, an officer not below the rank of chairman/managing director/chief executive of any public sector bank can make a request.
    • An LOC can be modified/deleted/withdrawn by the Bureau of Immigration only on the specific request of the authorised originator on whose request the LOC was issued.

    Does an LOC lead to arrest?

    • Not necessarily. LOCs can be of several types. 
      • They can seek to merely stop a person against whom the circular has been issued from travelling outside the country, to prevent a person from entering the country, or inform the concerned investigation agencies. 
      • The proforma of the LOC also contains a request to detain the individual at the local police/investigation agency, which generally leads to arrest.

    Source:IE