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Thursday 20 February 2020

INX Media: SC refuses to grant Karti interim relief

The CBI also told the apex court that it will seek an extension of Karti Chidambaram's custody before the trial court today

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to grant Karti Chidambaram, the son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, interim protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money laundering case related to INX Media.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud sought a response from the ED on Karti Chidambaram’s fresh plea seeking protection from arrest.

The CBI also told the apex court that it will seek an extension of Karti Chidambaram’s custody before the trial court today.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on 8 March.

In his fresh writ petition, Karti Chidambaram has challenged the summons on the ground that the ED has no jurisdiction to issue such notices based on the FIR lodged by the CBI.

The apex court had on 23 February refused to stay the summons issued by the ED against Karti Chidambaram — who is presently in CBI custody in the INX Media money laundering case — after the CBI said he was “not a common criminal” and his plea for quashing the notice was “a guise for an anticipatory bail plea”.

However, the top court had asked him to request the competent authority to postpone the ED summons seeking his appearance.

The ED had registered a case against him and others in May last year. It registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED’s equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in a CBI complaint. These included Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.

An FIR, filed on 15 May last year, had alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving Rs 305 crore in overseas funds in 2007 when P Chidambaram was Union finance minister.

The apex court was hearing pleas, including the CBI’s appeal, challenging the Madras High Court order staying a lookout circular (LOC) issued against Karti Chidambaram.

The CBI had on 1 September last year said there were “good, cogent” reasons for issuing the LOC.

The Chidambarams have denied all the charges made against them.

Earlier, a single judge bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the LOC issued against Karti Chidambaram and others in the graft case.

Later, the apex court considered the CBI appeal and stayed the operation of the high court order staying the LOC.

The Supreme Court, however, has kept to itself another batch of petitions relating to registration of FIR in the corruption case.

PTI

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