The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would peruse documents provided by the CBI which, the agency claimed, reflected bank accounts and property details of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram. Karti is facing graft charges in connection with a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to a media house.
The CBI reiterated that it had issued a lookout circular (LOC) against Karti as he had “tampered with evidence” during recent visits abroad and was apprehensive that he might repeat this if allowed to go again. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it would on Wednesday see the report the CBI had provided in sealed cover.
Representing the agency, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the papers were “contemporaneous records” obtained during the probe and insisted that the court look into them. The apex court was hearing a CBI petition challenging an order of the Madras High Court staying the LOC against Karti. The agency had registered an FIR against him on May 15 this year, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds when Chidambaram was finance minister.
Karti had filed an affidavit in the case on Monday saying that the ASG had made “several comments” against him in court. Mehta objected, saying that “lawyers make their submissions on behalf of clients. They don’t make comments. This is a little arrogant way of filing an affidavit.”
Producing the CBI report, the ASG said, “It would be travesty of justice if this court does not look into the sealed cover and see whether my statements of facts are correct or not.” Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Karti, opposed the CBI’s submissions and said these documents were not linked to the case and hence he too should have a copy if the court looks into them.
Justice Khanwilkar pointed out that the agency’s contention was that this was part of the case diary. Mehta seconded this, but Sibal stuck to his position saying “no, that is separate offence”. After hearing the submissions, the bench told Mehta, “we will see the documents tomorrow”.