Karti Chidambaram may have exhausted his bag of tricks in the INX Media case. A day before appearing in the Head Quarters of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Delhi, Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed Karti Chidambaram’s petition to quash the CBI’s First Information Report (FIR) for accepting a bribe for clearing Foreign Investment Proposal Board (FIPB) approval to INX Media. Coming down heavily on the attitude of Karti, Justice P Velmurgan said that the Madras High Court has no jurisdiction in this case as the FIR is registered in Delhi. The Judge also directed Registry to return the papers to Karti.
Rejecting Karti’s advocate Gopal Subramanium’s arguments, the apex court reiterated that none of his excuses will prevail as he is evading the agencies.
With the slamming from Madras High Court for coming to them with frivolous petitions, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti is in an awkward position when he appears before CBI investigators today – August 23, 2017.
In what is a clear case that comes under the Prevention of Corruption Act, father Palaniappan Chidambaram is also expected to be summoned by the CBI soon. As per the FIR, Karti got kickbacks of around Rs.5 crores ($) from INX media owners for illegally getting approvals from the FIPB headed by his father P Chidambaram in 2007. All the kick back details were unearthed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department (ITD), citing the bank transactions to Karti’s firms from INX media owners Peter and Indrani Mukherjea.
For the past month, Karti was delaying attempts by the CBI and the ED by rushing to Madras High Court with frivolous petitions. On August 14, the Supreme Court quashed the Madras High Court Order temporarily staying the Look Out Circular and directed Karti to appear before the CBI on August 23.
The bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud gave CBI the liberty to question him for as many days as it wants till August 28, the next date of hearing. Rejecting Karti’s advocate Gopal Subramanium’s arguments, the apex court reiterated that none of his excuses will prevail as he is evading the agencies. At one point Judges asked: “Do you want to say you are so good that you don’t want to appear before CBI?”
After CBI questioning, the ED is expected to interrogate Karti in the INX media kickbacks case and other cases. After Karti’s questioning, the agencies are expected to summon father Chidambaram and FIPB officials.