The Supreme Court has directed Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, to appear before the CBI on Wednesday (August 23) in connection with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media case.
Karti, facing investigation for allegedly receiving Rs 305 crore to get the FIPB approval to the private company by using his influence when his father was the finance minister, was directed to appear before the Investigating Officer (IO) at CBI headquarters, New Delhi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar allowed Karti to be accompanied with his lawyer during the investigation. The court, however, made it clear that his counsel would remain present in the adjacent room.
The bench rejected Karti’s counsel senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s submission that the interrogation be allowed to take place in Chennai and asked him to carry all relevant documents for his defence.
Seeking report from both the parties, the bench posted the matter for September 1.
Karti, his mother Nalini, a lawyer, were present in the court during the hour-and-half-long hearing. Father Chidambaram, who is also a lawyer, had entered the courtroom for a short while before commencement of the hearing, but left soon.
The bench recorded his counsel’s statement that Karti is ready even to appear before the IO today itself.
Subramanium denied all allegations levelled against his client and argued that “I had nothing to do with FIPB. I am linked just because of my father…It has now become the fashion of the day.”
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted a sealed cover giving detail reasons why the investigating agency issued Look Out Corner notice to Karti and needed his interrogation in the corruption case.
Further, he argued that the agency has got adequate materials to interrogate him.
After hearing both parties and when Karti’s counsel expressed his client’s willingness to appear before the probe agency, the CJI bench ordered him to appear on August 23.
In the meantime, the CJI suggested to dispose of the case without touching the one pending before the Madras High Court and asked the CBI to put an end to LOC.
“If required, issue fresh LOC,” he said.
However, ASG Mehta opposed, saying: “Let him not travel till the investigation is complete.”
On May 15, the CBI registered a case against Karti and subsequently issued summons and LOC for alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media by receiving overseas funds of almost Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti's father was the Union finance minister.
Seeking quashing of the FIR, Karti approached the Madras High Court, which stayed the LOC issued by the CBI against him on August 10. The CBI had also conducted several raids in connection with the case.