The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the CBI to apprise it of its stand on allowing the request of Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, to go abroad for a few days.
The apex court also asked the probe agency to apprise it of the reasons of not interrogating Karti if it decided not to call him at present.
“You take instructions on allowing the respondent (Karti Chidambaram) to go abroad for 4-5 days and what conditions can be imposed on him,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
The bench perused the documents submitted by CBI against Karti in a sealed cover and observed that the prosecuting agency had grievances looking at the past conduct of the respondent.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, said the documents which the court perused are part of the case diary and cannot be shared with Karti.
He said the apprehension arose from the past conduct of Karti who had in June-July during his visit abroad had closed his bank accounts.
The bench asked Mehta why the CBI was not interrogating him if it is in the know of things.
“It is upon the investigating agency and till it files the charge sheet, the probe agency is not supposed to disclose the evidence and timeline of investigation,” Mehta said.
He said Karti’s earlier act, coupled with his repeated request to go abroad, is “really shocking” and the agency will be justified in asking that he should not be allowed.
“The apprehensions are not on some unfounded reasons.
There are proper evidence and materials in this regard,” the ASG said.
To this, the bench suggested that CBI should interrogate him now and allow him to go abroad for 4-5 days with some conditions.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Karti Chidambaram, said this was the fear for which he was resisting that the court should not see the documents of the CBI as it would influence the judges.
He said copies of the documents of CBI have not been served upon them and they cannot argue without them.
“I don’t know what the judges are thinking after perusing the documents but can anyone tell me what wrong I did when I went abroad in June-July. There is not a single document which have my signature for closure of bank accounts,” he said.
He said that CBI should show documents to the court that he had multiple foreign bank accounts.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, also appearing for Karti, said he was called for interrogation for two days and the questioning happened only two and half hours while for 14 hours he was kept waiting.
“This FIR is of 2008 and they are questioning me now. The money which came to India or went abroad was under the law and with permission from RBI,” he said.
Sibal again intervened and said he was ready to answer any question and was not afraid of any questions.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on November 16 and asked the CBI counsel to seek instruction about their stand on allowing Karti to visit abroad for few days.
The CBI FIR, lodged on May 15, had alleged irregularities in 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 father was the Union Finance Minister.
The top court is hearing CBI’s appeal challenging Madras High Court order staying the government’s LoC against Karti.
The CBI had on September 1 told the top court that there were “good, cogent” reasons for issuing the LoC.
Earlier, the apex court had said that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case. The court had then stayed the high court order putting on hold the LoC against Karti.