New Delhi: The CBI Friday claimed in the Supreme Court that a lookout notice was issued against Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, to prevent him from travelling abroad as he was closing several of his foreign bank accounts.
The apex court, which was hearing the matter relating to a corruption case against Karti, was informed by the agency that several issues have come out during the investigation and many others were expected to be revealed.
The CBI wanted to place the documents concerning its investigation in a sealed cover before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which was opposed by Karti's counsel and senior advocate Kapil Sibal.
"What he did abroad is part of this sealed cover," additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta told the bench which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
Sibal repeatedly protested the ASG's submissions that the agency be allowed to place before it the documents in a sealed cover. The ASG took the opportunity to briefly submit about the contents of the documents enclosed in the cover.
"Let me say what is contained in the sealed cover. What he has done when he was abroad. He said (during interrogation) he has only one account abroad. But when he went abroad, he closed several bank accounts. I don't want to say all this as it will embarrass him but I have been compelled," he told the bench.
Sibal countered his submission and asked the ASG "did you ask a single question about the bank accounts and property?" "They interrogated him (Karti), but not a single question was asked on this," Sibal said, adding "if they can show any signature of Karti on any account, they can prosecute him under FEMA or blackmoney law".
When Sibal said Karti had gone abroad to get her daughter admitted at the Cambridge University, Mehta shot back "why are you so afraid if you did only this?"
When the ASG referred to the report of the financial investigation unit, Karti's counsel said "this has been investigated for the last 10 years".
The ASG then told the bench, "You please see these documents. Accused cannot say 'do not show it to the court'." Sibal said the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution has been violated in the case, as without issuing any notice to Karti to appear before the CBI, the government had come out with a LoC.
The bench, on hearing the submissions, posted the matter for further proceedings on 4 October. The apex court is hearing CBI's appeal challenging Madras High Court order staying the government's LOC against Karti in the alleged graft case. On 1 September, the CBI had told the top court that there were "good, cogent" reasons for issuing the LoC against Karti.
On 18 August, the court had asked Karti to appear before the investigating officer at the CBI headquarters for questioning in the case. The bench had given CBI the liberty to question Karti as many times it wanted. Before this, the apex court had said that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case.
The court had then stayed the high court order putting on hold the LOC against Karti. The CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house, cleared by Chidambaram, was "fallacious". The FIR was registered on 15 May before the special CBI judge and the registration of the case was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends the very next day.
The case against Karti pertains to an FIR lodged by the CBI on 15 May, alleging irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was the finance minister during the then UPA regime.
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Updated Date: Sep 22, 2017 18:40:00 IST