The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the bail plea of Karti Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case by March 16, reported PTI. Karti, the son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, had moved the Delhi High Court on Monday seeking bail, hours after a court sent him to judicial custody till March 24.
A special court had sent Karti to judicial custody in the 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 and the threat perception due to the fact that his father, as a Union minister in the previous UPA government, had handled several sensitive issues.
In the meantime, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) approached the Supreme Court today, challenging a Delhi High Court order giving relief to Karti Chidambaram. The High Court had asked the ED not to arrest Karti until March 20, the next date of hearing. The apex court has listed the matter for Thursday.
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Karti was arrested on March 1 in Chennai on his return from the United Kingdom in connection with an FIR lodged on May 15 last year. It alleged irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to a media house, INX Media, for receiving funds of about Rs 305 crore from overseas in 2007 when his father was the Union finance minister.
On Monday, the CBI did not press for further police remand but sought judicial custody for 15 days after accusing him of being “evasive” and non-cooperative. “There is sufficient material clearly implicating the accused in the serious economic offence,” the CBI had said.
The CBI had initially alleged that Karti received Rs 10 lakh as a bribe for facilitating the FIPB clearance to INX Media. It, however, later revised the figure to USD 1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007).
The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti’s arrest, was based on a statement of Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd, who recorded it under Section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17.