Supreme Court lets Karti Chidambaram travel abroad, told to deposit ₹1 crore
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Congress member of Parliament (MP) Karti Chidambaram to travel abroad after he gives an undertaking to return by November 21 and deposits ₹1 crore with the Supreme Court Registry.
Karti, the son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, is facing money laundering probe by Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media and for allegedly receiving ₹300 crore in kickbacks for facilitating the deal while his father was the finance minister.
On Monday, ED represented by solicitor general Tushar Mehta submitted that Karti Chidambaram was not cooperating with the probe as he had not responded to the summons issued on June 30 requiring him to produce certain documents.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress MP, said, “We served this application three months back and we are not told once about this summons. You must show us the summons that you served as the last summon was issued in January 2020.”
The bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar said, “This application was filed on September 30 after giving notice to respondents. It has been adjourned on two occasions in the past. Today when the applicant wants to go abroad in terms of a plan already stated, for the first time it is said across the bar by the solicitor general that the applicant has not cooperated during investigation of the case and has not appropriately responded to summons issued to him on June 30.”
Regardless of this fact, the court allowed Karti to leave the country on Monday in connection with tennis matches in several countries. He has been ordered to report back on or before November 21.
In February, this year, Karti was allowed to travel abroad by the top court on deposit of ₹2 crore as security. Sibal told the court, “I do not know why this special treatment is given to him that every time he travels abroad he is asked to make a deposit. Earlier it was ₹10 crore and last time, it was reduced to ₹2 crore.” Sibal requested the amount to be reduced this time.
While retaining all other conditions mentioned by the court in its February 22 order, the bench reduced the security deposit amount to ₹1 crore. The top court also allowed ED to file its affidavit indicating non-cooperation by the accused and posted the matter for hearing on November 22.