On January 13, 2020 the Supreme Court of India, issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate to file a reply to a petition submitted by Karti Chidambaram seeking a refund in the amount of Rs. 20 crores, which was deposited by him as a security for travelling abroad, while he was out on bail. The court will hear the matter on Friday next, January 17, 2020.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant sought clarification regarding the purpose of the security deposit from the investigating agency and whether that purpose stood fulfilled after K. Chidambaram’s return from abroad.
Earlier, the court had allowed K. Chidambaram to go abroad for various purposes like the admission of his daughter and for participation in tennis tournaments held abroad, in the last two years. He was allowed to visit United Kingdom and USA in May and Germany and Spain in June, 2019. The plea to travel abroad also stated that the respondent is a former tennis player, an administrator and an entrepreneur.
The money was deposited with the Supreme Court registry on January 30th and May 7th last year, Rs. 10 crores each time along with an undertaking by Karti. The CJI, during the hearing, asked K. Chidambaram, “Do you want a zero to be added? ... You (Karti) can go wherever you want to, you can do whatever you want, but don't play around with the law. If there is an iota of non-cooperation, we will come down heavily."
The CBI expressed serious apprehensions regarding this and even pondered over the fact - whether the respondent would try to tamper with evidence.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said the agency would require Karti's presence on four dates in March for ongoing investigations and asked the Apex Court to impose conditions accordingly, as done in the past to ensure that he comes back to India.
The agency had opposed the plea earlier on the grounds that KC had stayed abroad for 51 days in 6 months for no visibly eminent reason. KC is facing criminal charges relating to the INX Media case for receiving Rs. 305 crores in his account as foreign funds. The ED has said that Karti, who is also facing criminal proceedings in cases like the Aircel-Maxis case and other money laundering matters, has been “blatantly misusing” the liberty granted by the court in allowing him to travel abroad. According to the respondents, KC has been using the same to delay the ongoing investigation in the case.
Author: Meher Mansi