The Madras High Court today permitted Karti Chidambaram, facing a graft case filed by the CBI, to fly to Europe on a business tour but asked him to return home by February 28.
Son of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, Karti is facing two Look Out Circulars (LOCs) in a corruption case filed by the CBI and approached the high court to permit him to travel to the UK and France this month and once again between March 20 and 31.
According to the direction of the Supreme Court, Karti approached the high court, seeking its nod for his foreign travel.
The First bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, directed him to submit the details of his trip and places of visit to the CBI in advance.
It further directed Karti not to close down any of his bank accounts and to appear before the CBI as and when required.
On Karti's planned trip in March, the bench said it did not pass any order over that as the main petition challenging the look out notice is posted for hearing on March 12.
Karti submitted that he is director of Totus Tennis Ltd, a sports business company and has filed an application seeking permission to travel to UK and France for a business trip.
Stating that Totus is engaged in tennis tournaments, talent building and training, he submitted that the business market is Europe.
It is not possible to conduct business from India and a travel to the UK and France becomes imperative, he submitted.
Apart from conducting ATP tournaments in France, Austria, Germany and Spain, Totus' object is to identify budding tennis players and impart world-class training to them, in return for a revenue share of their professional earnings, he said.
Karti submitted that he has roots in society, he is a responsible citizen and an All India Congress Committee member and the question of him fleeing country does not arise.
The LOCs against them were issued in the case relating to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was the finance minister.
The Bureau of Immigration and the Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) had issued the LOCs at the CBI's request last year.
The CBI FIR, lodged on May 15 last year, had alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media.
The LOCs were earlier stayed by a single judge bench of the Madras High Court on a petition by Karti.
On a Special Leave Petition by the CBI, the Supreme Court had stayed the single judge's order. On January 31, the top court remanded the matter back in the high court disposing the SLP.
The top court had also ordered that the petitions challenging the LOC be decided by the division bench, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, within two months.
The Supreme Court had also further directed that if any application for travelling abroad was filed before the high court, it shall be heard by it.
Karti had appeared before CBI's investigating officer last year in the case as per the apex court order of August 18, 2017 following which the top court also allowed him to travel abroad in connection with the admission of his daughter in Cambridge University.