Business Standard

Karti's apprehension of arrest in INX media case in SC turns real


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Karti Chidambaram's apprehension in the Supreme Court last week that he will be arrested on his return from London turned out to be true with the CBI taking him into custody in connection with INX media case as soon as he landed at the Chennai airport today.

Karti, son of former union minister P Chidambaram, had vehemently pleaded in the apex court for staying or postponing the Enforcement Directorate's summon issued against him for his appearance on March 1 in connection with the money laundering case of INX Media, even as the CBI had said he was "not a common criminal".

During the hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on February 23, Karti's counsel Kapil Sibal had perhaps realised the intention of the investigating agencies and wondered whether the CBI planning to arrest his client.

"So, are you planning to arrest him," Sibal had asked the agencies.

CBI's counsel Tushar Mehta had then shot back "I am not saying that he will be arrested" but the call has to be taken by the investigating agency.

Mehta, an Additional Solicitor General, had also opposed Karti when during the hearing of the CBI case, he had sought a stay or postponement of the summons issued to him in the ED case.

The apex court was hearing the pleas of both CBI and Karti against the Madras High Court order of August 22, 2017, by which it had refrained itself from going into the merit of issue of quashing the FIR lodged in the INX Media case but rejecting the investigating agency's ground of maintainability due to lack of territorial jurisdiction.

The Madras High Court had however held that it was inclined to adopt the 'doctrine of forum of convenience' so that the parties could move the convenient court. It directed the court registry to return all the papers in the case to Karti to enable him approach the Delhi High Court, which has superintendence powers in the matter.

The apex court bench also comprising Justices Amitava Roy (since retired) and D Y Chandrachud had on February 23, adjourned the matter to March 6, while noting the submissions of Sibal and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for Karti, that they intended to seek time from the competent authority to appear before it.

The court had, however, made it clear that it has not dealt with the issue of maintainability of the applications moved by Karti against the ED's summon.

Karti was allowed to travel to United Kingdom and France by Madras High Court on February 16, in connection with his business activities in those countries.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 4:30 PM IST

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