After the experience of liquor baron Vijay Mallya leaving India, it has become imperative for the Centre to issue lookout circular in the case of Karti Chidambaram, the CBI submitted in the Madras High Court today.
The submission was made by Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan before the court where Karti had challenged the circular.
Further, the ASG contended that the petitioner has so far never appeared before the investigating agency.
"He is evading appearance by citing lame reasons. Let him appear or give an undertaking through an affidavit to the court that he would not leave the country. The entire issue would be sorted out," Rajagopalan said.
The case pertains to an FIR filed onMay 15 against Karti and INX Media along with eight others for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media house for foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2007.
The Centre has specifically instructed the Department of Immigration to monitor the movement of people involved in economic offences and ensure that they do not leave the country, the ASG submitted.
Raising serious objection over the comparison with Mallya, Karti's counsel Satish Parasaran contended that the reference or comparison was totally unwarranted, as the action of the person referred is in no way connected with the case.
He further said the government was harassing the petitioner through such circulars, which are usually issued against terrorists and absconding criminals.
The petitioner is very well available, he was constantly replying to the summons, he contended.
Even on the date of issuing LOC, the petitioner was right below the nose of the CBI, challenging the FIR in the High Court, he said.
Reacting to same, the ASG submitted thatso far, the CBI had never interfered in Karti's personal liberty inside India.
Only because CBI had apprehensions that he would leave the country, lookout circular had been issued, he said.
"What is the guarantee that he would return to India if allowed to travel abroad," Rajagopalan asked.
Karti's counsel opposed the submission of the ASG and said the issue of LOC is not a course of investigation and it is not issued in all cases and also needs objective and subjective satisfaction.
He further said that even a copy of the LOC was not made available to Karti.
When Rajagopalan said that it was a confidential one, Justice M Duraiswamy, hearing the case said, "the accused is entitled to a copy of LOC. If this is the stand of CBI, then I have to issue interim orders to provide a copy."
Soon after the court passed an interim order, the ASG provided a copy of the LOC to the petitioner and complied with the interim order.
Recording the same, the judge then posted the plea to August 10 for further hearing.
Claiming that Karti has evaded appearance on summons issued by the CBI in connection with the case, LOC was issued on July 18.
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