The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Karti Chidambaram to “not play around with the law” and to cooperate with the investigations in 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.
The court allowed Karti Chidambaram to travel abroad but asked him to deposit Rs 10 crore with the Supreme Court registry before he did so. The court also asked him to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for interrogation on March 5, March 6, March 7 and March 12, ANI reported.
“You can go wherever you want to, you can do whatever you want, but don’t play around with the law,” Gogoi told Chidambaram, according to ANI. “If there is an iota of non-cooperation, [we] will come down heavily.”
Chidambaram had sought permission to travel abroad from February 10 to 26 and from March 23 to 31 for international tennis tournaments. The court asked him to file an undertaking that he would return and cooperate with the investigation.
“Please tell your clients that he will have to cooperate,” the court told Chidambaram’s lawyers. “You have not cooperated. We wanted to say a lot of things. We are not saying them right now.”
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.
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 P Chidambaram in the case.