The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Congress MP Karti Chidambaram’s petition seeking Rs 10 crore he had deposited with the court’s registry for travelling abroad, PTI reported. The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are investigating his alleged role in the Aircel-Maxis and INX media cases.
“Pay attention to your constituency,” a vacation bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose said before rejecting Chidambaram’s plea. Chidambaram won the Sivaganga Lok Sabha seat, defeating Bharatiya Janata Party candidate H Raja.
In his plea, the parliamentarian claimed he had taken a loan to make the deposit, and now needs it back to repay it. On May 15, a vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna had said the matter was not urgent and directed Chidambaram to bring it up later in front of the chief justice.
The court had granted Chidambaram permission to travel abroad in January and May and ordered him to pay a Rs 10-crore deposit each time. His counsel told the top court that since Chidambaram had returned after his first trip, the money should be returned.
Investigators had opposed Chidambaram’s request to travel abroad, saying he was not cooperating in the inquiries. Karti Chidambaram and his father, former Union minister P Chidambaram, have been granted interim protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case till May 30.
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 the finance minister at the time.
The case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted to Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investments in Aircel in 2006. P Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time and Karti Chidambaram allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the transaction.
The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating a money laundering angle in the case, is inquiring why P Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give the green signal for such deals.