Lodged in CBI custody in INX Media case since February 28, Karti Chidambaram got some relief on Friday with the Delhi High Court granting him interim protection from being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 20.
Friday’s order would mean he cannot be arrested by the ED once he is released from CBI’s custody.
Karti, son of senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, moved the high court on Thursday challenging the ED’s summons served on him.
He told the court that the cases registered by the CBI and the ED pertain to same facts and he has fully cooperated with the CBI in its probe.
He also said the ED has no jurisdiction to summon him for the same case.
Early this week, Karti had moved the Supreme Court against the ED’s summons but later withdrew the petition with the leave to move the high court.
While challenging the summons issued by the ED, Karti had also prayed for quashing of all criminal proceedings initiated against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED in connection with FIPB approval for Aircel-Maxis and INX Media in 2006 and 2007.
His counsel senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the court that Karti feared arrest by the ED as soon as he is out of the CBI’s custody and accused the agencies of mala fide.
It is to be noted that before Karti withdrew the petition from the Supreme Court, the court had sought to know from the ED if it will be arresting him once he is released from the CBI’s custody, but Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had refused to make any statement.
The CBI had registered an FIR against Karti in INX Media case in May 2017.
Karti was arrested by the CBI from the Chennai airport on February 28 on his return from London and brought to Delhi.
The CBI alleged Karti used his influence in the finance ministry to help INX Media get approval for foreign investments from three Mauritius-based investors during P Chidambaram’s tenure as the Finance Minister.
INX Media allegedly received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for Rs 4.62 crore investment, but received Rs 305 crore by sale of shares at a premium of Rs 800 per share instead of Rs 10 as mentioned by the company in its application.
The CBI alleged that after the Income Tax department started investigating, INX Media roped in Karti’s company called Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd “to get the issues resolved” by influencing officials of the FIPB.
The ED had claimed that chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman has been assisting Karti in managing the money received through illegal means. Bhaskararaman was arrested by the ED on February 16.