A desperate escape by a defiant father to the UAE with his own baby daughter in violation of court orders has triggered an Interpol search for the baby on a CBI request.
The global agency has issued a Yellow Notice for the 2 and a half-year-old baby, Raina, on the CBI request, while the process for a Red Corner Notice against Aman Lohia, the father, has been initiated by the agency, officials said.
The External Affairs Ministry also issued a note verbale on September 9 to authorities in the UAE to not let Aman Lohia leave the country.
Yellow Notices are issued by the Interpol on the request of member countries to locate missing persons, while Red Corner Notices are a global request to arrest an absconder.
Aman Lohia, son of a noted businessman having family relations with a London-based global steel tycoon, was fighting a custody battle in Delhi High Court for his daughter Raina against his separated wife Kiran Kaur Lohia, a well-known dermatologist having a clinic in an upscale locality of South Delhi.
The High Court had handed over the custody to the mother with a parenting plan according to which Aman Lohia could meet Raina for some hours on three days of every week. The court has also asked him to deposit his passport, which he did, they said.
But, the order did not go down well with Aman Lohia who considered it as "gender bias of Indian courts towards women".
With his passport deposited in the court, Aman Lohia allegedly decided to escape to Dubai using a passport acquired from the Caribbean country the Commonwealth of Dominica. He reached Dubai where "personal laws enjoin exclusive custody upon the father", the High Court had noted in one of the proceedings.
On August 24 this year, when Raina had come to meet Aman Lohia as per the parenting plan, he took her along with family confidant Pawan Kumar and maid Shiuratia Debi Mahato to board a flight to Bagdogra with the Delhi Police on their trail.
From Bagdogra, they took a taxi to Kathmandu from where they went to Dubai via a circuitous route to gulf cities including Doha, they said.
Considering "international ramifications", the Delhi High Court handed over the probe to the CBI which has registered a case and started the process for a Red Corner Notice against Aman Lohia and Mahato.
The agency arrested Pawan Kumar, the family confidant, upon his return from Dubai and he has been sent to judicial court.
The court has termed Aman Lohia's escape with his daughter on a Dominican Passport and refusal to subject himself to the jurisdiction of the Indian legal system as a "contempt of court".
In response to the notice issued by the High Court, Aman Lohia, through his lawyers, filed an affidavit on September 4, stating that he was a "victim of gender bias" of the courts and that it was the "love for his daughter" which made him do what he did.
Rejecting the arguments, the High Court noted that "after having taken the law into his own hands" and having decided "to become a judge, jury and an executioner rolled into one...Aman Lohia...is now trying to adorn the role of a victim/martyr!"
"Nothing can be further from the truth," the High Court had said.
It noted that Aman Lohia had not even expressed a word of apology, remorse or even the willingness to purge the contempt by returning the child to the mother.
"This compounds the contempt. In fact, the present matter ''is a textbook case of a rich and haughty man mocking at the system''...", it had said.
Holding Aman Lohia guilty of contempt of court, the High Court said removing Raina from the jurisdiction of the High Court interferes with and obstructs the due course of justice and tends to lower its authority.
"Aman acted of his own volition without taking any member of the family in confidence. He is incommunicado (and) not answering calls. E-mails are also bouncing back," sources privy to the developments of the court said.
He has even "disengaged" with his lawyer stating that he would not be returning to the country.