The Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 29) dismissed a plea of Congress MP Karti Chidambaram seeking return of ₹10 crore which he had deposited with the court’s registry for travelling abroad.
Karti is facing criminal cases being probed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. A vacation bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose rejected Kartis plea and said, “Pay attention to your constituency”. The bench was hearing Karti’s plea in which he had sought return of ₹10 crore deposited earlier by him in the apex courts registry, claiming he had taken the money on loan and was paying interest on it.
On May 7, a bench headed by the CJI had allowed Karti, son of former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, to travel to the United Kingdom, US, France, Germany and Spain in May and June this year. “The applicant (Karti) shall make a deposit of ₹10 crore only before the Secretary General of this Court, which will be returned to him after he comes back to the country,” the bench had said in its May 7 order.
The apex court had in January also granted Karti permission to travel abroad after depositing ₹10 crore with the secretary general of the Supreme Court. The court, on the request of ED, had earlier asked Karti to file an undertaking that he would return to India and cooperate with the investigation. The court had said that it would “come down heavily” on Karti if he did not cooperate. The probe agency had earlier opposed the plea of Karti seeking permission to travel abroad and alleged that he has been evasive, non-cooperative and caused delay in completing the investigations. Karti was abroad for 51 days in the past six months, the probe agency had told the court earlier.
The ED had earlier claimed that Karti, who is also facing proceedings in cases like Aircel-Maxis and money laundering matters, has been “blatantly misusing” the liberty granted by court in allowing him to travel abroad and has been using the same to protract the investigation in the case. Karti is facing several criminal cases being investigated by the ED and CBI including one which relates to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving foreign funds of ₹305 crore when his father was the finance minister.