The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Centre’s plea against Madras High Court order staying its lookout notice against Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, and others in an alleged corruption case filed by the CBI. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said it will hear the plea today itself after it finishes hearing the listed matters.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought an urgent hearing of the plea saying that the order was passed recently and an appeal against it has been moved today itself.
The Madras High Court had on August 10 stayed the ‘look out circulars’ issued against Karti Chidambaram and four others by the Centre over a corruption case filed by the CBI, holding that they were prima facie “unwarranted”.
Besides Karti, his associates C B N Reddy, Ravi Viswanathan, Mohanan Rajesh and S Bhaskararaman had also got the interim relief.
Noting that the impugned circular had been issued just a day after the notice was sent under relevant CrPC sections asking Karti to appear on June 29 for questioning, the high court had said, “this…according to this court, is prima facie unwarranted”.
The Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) and the Bureau of Immigration, under the Union Home Ministry, had issued the circulars against Karti on June 16 last and against the four others on July 18.
In his petition, Karti has contended that the lookout circular was part of the central government’s “political vendetta” and issued “arbitrarily” without jurisdiction to prevent him from travelling abroad.
He also said he had responded to the summonses issued by the CBI in connection with the case and there was “no absolute cause of action” for issuance of the circular.
The case is related to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds when Karti’s father was the Union Finance Minister in 2007.
CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house was “fallacious”, but Chidambaram had cleared it.
The FIR dated May 15 was registered before the special CBI judge at New Delhi. It was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends on May 16.