Apex court slams tactics, asks Karti to stay in the country
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram son Karti’s judicial shenanigans are ending. Karti cannot go abroad. On August 18, he has to inform the apex court as to when he is going to appear before the CBI. The observations of the Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud is expected to end Karti’s forum shopping at Madras High Court with frivolous petitions.
The case lodged by the CBI in Delhi is related to irregularities and kickbacks in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of almost Rs 305 crores in 2007…
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s strategic move to approach Supreme Court has collapsed Karti’s two weeks long trip to London starting on August 16 with his partners. The Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta pointed out the maintainability of petitions filed by Karti in Madras High Court on the case, where the First Information Report (FIR) is registered in Delhi. The Supreme Court’s strong observations against Karti for rushing to courts without appearing before the CBI is expected to dampen his hopes in another frivolous petition in Madras High Court before Justice P Velmurgan demanding to quash the CBI’s First Information Report (FIR).
The Supreme Court was on August 14 categorical that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to an investigation in a corruption case. The apex court suspended the Madras High Court order passed by Justice Duraiswamy which allowed Karti to go to London and get back to it by Sept 4. Based on Gopal Subramanium’s assurance that Karti will back to India by August 28, Justice Duraiswamy passed the controversial order, ignoring the repeated objections of ASG G Rajagopalan on August 10. CBI’s tactical move to appeal against the Madras HC collapsed Karti’s plans.
“We are ruling only on one limited issue. Has he participated and cooperated in the investigation? The answer is ‘no’,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said, adding, “you (Karti) must show your bonafide.”
“They must show up to the investigation by going to the investigating agency. We are not on whether he is guilty or not. We are on a very small issue. They asked you to appear for investigation and you did not. First, you said you are abroad, but on coming, you did not appear,” it said.
The bench, which wanted to know from Karti’s counsel Gopal Subramanium as to when Chidambaram’s son would report for investigation, also said there was neither any order for his arrest, nor was there any intention to arrest him, but he had kept himself away from questioning.
The apex court, which issued the notice to Karti and four others in the case and posted the matter for hearing on August 18, asked Subramanium that he should “give a date and appear for questioning”.
Subramanium, on his part, said that he would take instructions from his client (Karti), but wanted an assurance from the apex court that there should be some protection.
However, the bench said it has had a “very bad experience” of granting liberty to “reputed people” to go abroad as they never come back and referred to some high-profile cases. “These Malaysian people did not come back,” it said in reference to Malaysia-based persons, accused in the Aircel- Maxis case.
The ASG Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, mentioned the appeal in the forenoon for urgent hearing saying that the accused may leave the country if the High Court, passed on August 10, was not stayed. He said the Madras High Court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear the issue as the FIR was registered at New Delhi by the CBI.
The case lodged by the CBI in Delhi is related to irregularities and kickbacks in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of almost Rs 305 crores in 2007 when Karti’s father was the Union Finance Minister. The FIR accused Karti of accepting a bribe of around Rs. Five crores from INX media owners Peter and Indrani Mukherjea for getting approvals from FIPB during father Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister.