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Karti Chidambaram Went Abroad To Close Secret Bank Accounts: CBI

NEW DELHI: Karti Chidambaram, the son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, went abroad to close his undisclosed foreign bank accounts and transfer the money from these accounts, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court today in defence of a lookout circular against the senior politician’s son.

The central probe agency named Karti Chidambaram in a corruption case this May for foreign investment approvals to Indrani and Peter Mukerjea for setting up the INX network of television channels. The charge against Karti is he helped get the approvals in return for kickbacks. He has been questioned twice about this case and denies the charges.

Karti Chidambaram, who had approached the top court against the lookout notice that prevents him from going abroad without the CBI’s permission, had last week skipped the agency’s summons for questioning. He insisted that they had no reason to question him.

The next day, the former minister had, in tweets, said the CBI should not harass his son and the agency should direct its queries about approvals given by the government during his tenure at the finance ministry, to him.

At the top court’s hearing on Friday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra heard the CBI defend the lookout circular that Karti, 45, had challenged in the top court. The court will hear the case again on 4 October and has told Karti that he would have to stay put in India in the interim.

“What he did abroad is part of this sealed cover,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

When senior lawyer Kapil Sibal who is representing Karti in this case repeatedly asked the court not to allow any information to be placed in a sealed cover, Mr Mehta said the secret note detailed his activities during his previous foreign visits.

“He said (during interrogation) he has only one account abroad. But when he went abroad, he closed several bank accounts. I don’t want to say all this as it will embarrass him but I have been compelled,” Mr Mehta told the bench.

Mr Sibal contested this version, insisting that CBI had not asked a single question on the bank accounts. “If they can show any signature of Karti on any account, they can prosecute him under FEMA (foreign exchange management law) or black money law,” the former union minister, also a practising senior lawyer said.