Madras High Court suspended Look Out Circular against Karti Chidambaram till September 4, upon the assurance given by his advocate Gopal Subramanium that he would back from London on August 28. Arguing before Justice Duraiswamy, Gopal Subramanium also assured that his client Karti would make himself available before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after London visit. Note that many in the media said Karti obtained a stay; this is incorrect. The Look Out Circular has been suspended till the 4th of September.
But the Court’s conditions have now forced him to appear before CBI, plugging his evasive tricks for the past two months.
Karti’s petition was to cancel the Look Out Circular issued by CBI on July 18. He was planning to go to London on August 16. Having been obviously alerted by some friendly officials, Karti approached Madras High Court. But the Court’s conditions have now forced him to appear before CBI, plugging his evasive tricks for the past two months. Justifying CBI’s move, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajagopalan said that Karti is totally evasive to CBI summons and Look Out Circular is issued to prevent him from escaping the country like the fugitive Vijay Mallya.
Earlier Karti approached Justice P Velmurgan’s Bench to quash the CBI’s First Information Report (FIR) naming him for accepting kick backs from illegal FIPB approval to INX Media given by father P Chidambaram in 2007. The Bench is expected to reserve judgment on this case on August 16, after receiving written statements from Karti and CBI. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta argued that Karti’s petition should be quashed citing his evasive tricks.
However, many legal experts are observing on the non-maintainability of Karti’s petition to approach Madras High Court to quash the CBI FIR, which is registered in Delhi trial court. Moreover, in both petitions, Karti has appointed a Power of Attorney Arun Natarajan to petition on his behalf. How Madras High Court allowed Power of Attorney is another question to be debated, say many legal experts.
Another question is why CBI gave so much time for Karti, after registering a FIR and conducted a raid on his home and offices. CBI’s snail pace became an advantage for Karti to file frivolous petitions, while not appearing before the agency. Karti has been defying CBI’s summons for a number of times for the past two months, which is ample reason for an arrest.
Moreover, it is clear that some Congress friendly officers have alerted the son of former Home Minister Chidambaram about the issue of a Look Out Circular. Normally a person would only come to know about this secret notice when he approaches Immigration point while trying to go abroad. These things clearly show that there is a Chidambaram friendly lobby working in the CBI and Ministry of Finance.
Recently BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has filed a complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that certain officials in Finance Ministry and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) are trying to delay the probe against Chidambaram, Karti and other family members under new Black Money and Benami Acts. Swamy pointed out that Income Tax Chennai Unit and Enforcement Directorate had already unearthed the illegal assets of the family in 14 countries and 21 undeclared foreign bank accounts and CBDT, instead of registering a case, is still writing letters to these countries to delay the probe.