Supreme Court refuses to grant relief to Karti

Chidambaram’s son is accused of receiving kickbacks ten years ago to clear foreign investment into INX Media group

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday refused to grant Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, interim protection from possible arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case.

Karti has challenged the summons from the ED on the ground that the agency has no jurisdiction to issue such notices.

A bench comprised of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud also sought a response from the ED on Karti’s plea seeking protection from arrest.

On February 23, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the summons issued by the ED against Karti after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said Karti’s plea was a guise for an anticipatory bail plea.

Karti’s counsel Kapil Sibal pleaded that his client be given relief as he was ready to cooperate in every possible manner.

“We are willing to cooperate in every way and we also did so. But we are worried about his arrest,” Sibal told SC.

Karti is accused of receiving kickbacks ten years ago to clear foreign investment into the INX Media group.

INX Media was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea at that time.

Karti is said to have used his father’s influence, who was then the Union finance minister, to allegedly help INX Media get approval for foreign investments from three Mauritius-based investors.

Meanwhile, the CBI on Tuesday told a Delhi court that it want to question Karti for nine more days.

Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) Tushar Mehta told the special CBI court that the case was not just based on Indrani Mukerjea’s testimony but also other “concrete evidence.”

Last week, Karti was taken to Mumbai and confronted by Mukerjea who is being held at Byculla prison for allegedly murdering her daughter.

“Karti Chidambaram has been confronted with Indrani Mukerjea, one of the then promoters of INX media, at the Byculla prison. But her statement is just one of the evidences against Karti,” Mehta added.

He said Karti has so far refused to cooperate with the agency.

“Karti Chidambaram has not been cooperating and not parting with his phones’ passwords and to every question, he has been saying that ‘I am politically victimised’,” Mehta said.

Mehta said due to “new revelations” in the case, it was necessary that Karti was confronted with “new facts.”

“New revelations in the matter have come up. Cannot divulge much about investigation but we need his further custody to confront him with the new facts. From India to global, from rupees to dollars, we [the country] have already suffered damage. This is a huge investigation and we have made substantial progress but need more time,” Mehta told the court.

Appearing for Karti, senior advocate and veteran Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the CBI just wanted to keep him in custody by hook or crook.

“The shifting of stands [or] reasons by CBI to keep Karti Chidambaram in custody is a mala fide attempt on their part to get his custody. Is Indrani’s statement even an admissible evidence? She is in jail in [connection with the] murder… of her daughter,” Singhvi said.

After hearing both sides, the special court granted three days’ CBI custody for Karti.

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