The Delhi High Court today dubbed as "mischievous" certain tweets by the editor of a Chennai-based Tamil language weekly news magazine in connection with its decision granting interim protection from arrest to Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, till March 20 in the INX Media money laundering case. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta said the "mischievous innuendo", posted by Swaminathan Gurumurthy, the editor of 'Thuglak'magazine, within a few hours of the court's March 9 order in the INX media case, immediately invited responses which "spread the misinformation in the innuendo several times over, not sparing the judge presiding over the matter,nor the judiciary". The high court, which took up the issue on its own after judges from Tamil Nadu forwarded the tweets made by the editor to it, said one of the two tweets by the senior scribe was "directly attacking the Supreme Court". The bench also noted that despite tweets by others in response to the innuendo and clarifying the correct position, "he (editor) cared not to withdraw the mischievous and false tweet". The editor had posed a question as to whether Justice Muralidhar, who was part of the bench which had passed the order granting protection to Karti Chidambaram, was a junior of former UPA minister and senior advocate P Chidambaram. The bench said it was not issuing any contempt of court notice to the editor now and asked the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta and its standing counsel Amit Mahajan, to consider whether such tweets have the tendency to scandalise the legal profession and what appropriate remedial action was required in the instant case. The court, which took suo motu cognisance of the issue, said while it was conscious that such tweets were "ill informed" and "are best ignored", but since the person in question was an editor of a popular magazine having over 259,000 followers, it considered it appropriate to place the correct information. During the brief hearing, ASG Mehta said that posts on social media should be ignored as they are irresponsible and the courts would not be able to function if they take cognisance of such things. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Karti, said even he has been subjected to abuses and threats on the twitter for which there has been often no recourse. He said such social media activity should not be ignored but a stern message sent. In its March 9 order, the high court had also made it clear that if the special court granted Karti bail in the corruption case registered by the CBI, the ED will not arrest him till the next hearing before the high court on March 20. Karti is under the custody of the CBI which produced him today before a special court here which sent him to judicial custody till March 24 in the INX Media corruption case and dismissed his plea that he be put in a separate cell in Tihar Jail in view of a threat perception. The court also dismissed his appeal for an urgent hearing on his bail plea after which he moved the high court seeking bail.
He was being quizzed by the CBI for the last 12 days since his arrest on February 28. His bail plea will be heard tomorrow by the high court. He had moved the high court after the Supreme Court had allowed him to withdraw his writ petition against the ED summons with a liberty to take urgent redressal before the high court. He had approached the apex court seeking directions to declare that the ED has no jurisdiction to conduct any investigation unrelated to the allegations in the FIR lodged by the CBI on May 15, 2017. He had also sought the quashing of summons and all the proceedings initiated by the ED, terming it "unreasonable, without jurisdiction, without authority of law, in colourable exercise of power and vitiated by malafides". Karti was arrested on February 28 at the Chennai airport on his return from the UK, in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15 last year alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was the Union finance minister. The ED had registered a case against him and others in May last year.
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