The Delhi High Court is set to hear former Union minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram's bail petition in connection with the INX Media corruption case on Tuesday.
The high court had on 10 March restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from arresting Karti till 20 March.
Karti had on Monday moved the high court seeking bail, hours after a Delhi court sent him to Tihar jail for 12-day judicial custody after rejecting his plea for early hearing of his bail application.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on Monday produced Karti in the Delhi court after his three-day police custody expired and sought 15-day judicial custody. Karti's counsel Dayan Krishan had moved a plea in a Delhi court seeking a separate jail cell on the grounds of "indisputable threat" to Karti's life in Tihar Jail since P Chidambaram had taken charge as a home minister "just after 26/11 Mumbai attacks and had several accused under MCOCA prosecuted."
However, the CBI strongly refuted the suggestion, saying that "there was no threat to Karti" and he would be taken care of in accordance with jail rules. Special Judge Sunil Rana then dismissed Karti's plea, stating that he could not be treated differently from other accused solely on the basis of his own as well as his father's social status.
File image of Karti Chidambaram. CNN-News18
Earlier, the former Union minister's son was remanded in CBI custody for three days after the agency claimed that it had recovered incriminating documents and CDs from the Chennai office of Advantage Strategic Pvt Ltd, a company that Karti has links with.
Karti was arrested from the Chennai Airport on 28 February upon his return from the United Kingdom, in connection with an FIR that was registered on 15 May last year. Since his arrest, the businessman has been in CBI custody for questioning. The FIR alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was the Union finance minister.
Initially, according to a PTI report, the CBI had alleged that Karti Chidambaram received a bribe of Rs 10 lakh in order to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. The agency, however, later revised the figure to USD 1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007). The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti's arrest, was based on a statement by Indrani Mukerjea, former director of INX Media (P) Ltd, who recorded her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on 17 February.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court will hear a petition filed by Karti challenging the lookout notice issued against him by the CBI. On Monday, Gopal Subramaniam, representing Karti, had told the court that the CBI should not have arrested Karti at the Chennai airport, in compliance with a court condition. "The agency should have obtained the leave of the high court before arresting Karti," he had said. The counsel had submitted that the CBI failed to mention the reasons for issuing such a circular.
Denying the contention, Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan submitted that the high court, in its order, had not stated anything about his arrest while allowing him to travel abroad. Karti's failure to appear before the investigating officer despite the directions of the Supreme Court led to the issuance of a lookout notice, he said.
With inputs from PTI