The CBI on Friday informed the Supreme Court that Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P. Chidambaram, went abraod only for the purpose of closing his bank accounts and transferred the amounts to other accounts.
Making this revelation, additional solicitor- general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, told a Bench of the Chief justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud that the look out notice (LoN) was issued only to prevent him from going abroad and he defended such a move intended to make him participate in the investigation.
The ASG said the CBI would submit the information in a sealed cover pointing out to Karti Chidambaram’s foreign account transactions and documents relating to the probe done so far. “What he did abroad is part of this sealed cover,” he said. His lawyer Kapil Sibal opposed it. Mr Sibal told the court that the sealed cover information has nothing to do with Look out notice and if CBI has proof of foreign accounts let the agency prosecute him under black money law. He said the LoN was unnecessary as his client was ready to cooperate with the investigation and he returned to India for this purpose.
The CBI registered an FIR against Mr Karti and others on May 15, 2017 for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds in 2007.
Mr. Karti did not appear before CBI in response to summons issued on June 15 and July 4, but instead moved the Madras High Court to quash the FIR.
On June 16 the CBI issued Look out Circular to prevent him from leaving India. On August 10, the High Court by an interim order stayed the LoC and allowed him to go abroad on August 16 and to return on August 31. The CBI filed the present appeal in the apex court against this order to prevent Mr. Karti from going abroad as scheduled.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for CBI, said the intent and language of the LOC was not to detain or arrest Mr. Karti, as it was only a measure to ensure that he did not leave the country when the investigation into a case involving “serious offences” was going on. The Bench posted the matter for final hearing on October 4.