The Apex Court on 31st of January asked the Madras High Court to decide petitions that pertain to the issuance of two Look Out Circulars against the former Union Minister P. Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidambaram and others in a corruption case.
The corruption case alleges that, Karti Chidambaram received money from INX Media for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius. The case is aganst Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
The Supreme Court bench in the LOC case was headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who made clear that the LOC’s issued on June 16 and July 28 in 2018 against Karti Chidambaram and Others will remain in force till the madras High Court takes a decision on the petitions. The Bench also comprised of Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, and the bench ordered that the division bench that is to be headed by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court will decide the petitions within two months from the date of the decision.
The apex court considered the submissions of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and his argument that the Madras High Court’s territorial jurisdiction to deal with the LOC cases shall be kept open for adjudication as opposed by the probe agency. The Bench of the apex court through it’s decision has also empowered the High Court of Madras to deal with the applications of the accused seeking permission to go abroad on merits.
The Court stated that it has not in any way expressed it’s opinion on the merits of the case and asked the High Court to deal with them independently.
Earlier, a single judge bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the LOC issued against the accused in the graft 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 Karti’s Chidambaram’s father was the Union Finance Minister.
Later, the apex court considered the appeal of CBI and stayed the operation of the High Court order staying the LOC.
The Supreme Court, however, had kept to itself another batch of petitions pertaining to registration of FIR in the corruption case.