The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Enforcement Directorate to inform it of the date by January 30 when it seeks to interrogate Karti Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media and Aircel Maxis cases, PTI reported. Karti Chidambaram, the son of senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram, is accused of money laundering in both the cases.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, to seek instructions. The court was hearing Karti Chidambaram’s petition seeking permission to travel to France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom over the next few months for tennis tournaments.
“We will ensure both,” the court said. “We will ensure that he appears before you [ED] and he goes for his tennis assignment. No tennis for him if he evades.”
On January 16, the Supreme Court had turned down an urgent plea seeking permission to travel abroad and said “we have better things to do”. It had done so in November too. “Karti Chidambaram going abroad is not so important that it will get precedent over other [cases],” Gogoi had then said.
Meanwhile, the Patiala House Court in Delhi extended the interim protection provided to P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram in Aircel Maxis case, ANI reported. The court rescheduled the date of hearing the case from February 1 to February 18.
INX Media case
In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea. The agency accused Karti Chidambaram’s company of receiving a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to help INX Media escape punitive action for taking Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007 despite having clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for only Rs 4 crore. P Chidambaram was finance minister at the time.
The case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted the firm Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel in 2006. Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time and Karti Chidambaram allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the Aircel-Maxis transaction. The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating a money laundering angle in the case, is inquiring why Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give the green signal for such deals.
On November 26, the Central Bureau of Investigation informed a court in Delhi that the central government has sanctioned the prosecution of Chidambaram in the case.