The Supreme Court on Wednesday rebuked former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram over non-cooperation in the corruption probe. The bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told him that if he wishes to go abroad, he must deposit Rs 10 crore with the Supreme Court. The conditional permission would come as a huge relief for Chidambaram junior, who has been embroiled in the INX Media case. “You can go wherever you want to, you can do whatever you want, but don't play around law. If there is an iota of non-cooperation, will come down heavily,” the Chief Justice of India told Karti Chidambaram. The Supreme Court has told him to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on March 5, 6, 7 and 12 for interrogation in the Aircel Maxis, INX cases.
Earlier on January 28, a Delhi court had extended the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis scam till February 18. Special CBI Judge OP Saini extended the relief to Chidambaram noting that he will not be available on February 1 for which the matter was earlier listed.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal. In the previous hearing on January 11, CBI had informed the court that the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute five people, including serving and former bureaucrats, accused in the Aircel-Maxis case including the Chidambarams.
The CBI had on November 16 last year informed the court that similar nod was procured for Chidambaram. There are 18 accused in the case. Chidambaram and Karti were named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI in the case on July 19 last year.
The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, who was the Union finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it.
The CBI and ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had recently told the court that custodial interrogation of both the accused was required. The father-son has denied the allegations of both the agencies. The senior Congress leader and his son have come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore. In its chargesheet filed earlier in the present case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI alleged that P Chidambaram granted FIPB approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.
(With inputs from PTI)