New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed on 18 September the appeal of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the Madras high court order staying the government’s look-out circular against Karti Chidambaram, son of former union minister P. Chidambaram, in a graft case.
The FIR lodged by the CBI on 15 May had alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs305 crore in 2007 when Karti’s father was the finance minister.
A bench comprising chief justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, meanwhile, said that its direction staying the Madras high court order on look out circular will remain in force in the meantime and as a result, Karti will not be able to leave India.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Karti, alleged that all baseless allegations have been levelled against Karti and challenged the probe agency to being out the details of any property which the Chidambarams cannot account for. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, vehemently countered the submission and said that the probe was at a very crucial stage and substantial information have been given to the court in a sealed cover. The bench then fixed the matter for final disposal next Monday.
On 1 September, the CBI had told the apex court that there were “good, cogent" reasons for issuing look out circular against Karti. On 18 August, the court had asked Karti to appear before the investigating officer at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi for questioning in the case. The bench had given the probe agency the liberty to question Karti as many times it wanted.
Prior to this, the apex court had said that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case. The court had then stayed the Madras high court order putting on hold the LOC issued by the Centre against Karti. The CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house, cleared by Chidambaram, was “fallacious". The FIR was registered on 15 May before the special CBI judge in New Delhi and the registration of the case was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends on 16 May.