The CBI on Monday presented to the Supreme Court a sealed cover containing details of investigations that have revealed possible transactions in foreign countries and 25 overseas properties allegedly belonging to Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram.
The FIR, lodged by the CBI on May 15, had alleged irregularities in the approval granted by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to INX Media for receiving funds from abroad to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti's father was the country's Finance Minister.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the investigation into the case was at a crucial stage and they have placed the details in the sealed cover.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Karti, opposed Mehta's submissions, saying wild and baseless allegations have been levelled against his client and these purported issues have nothing to do with the look out circular (LOC) issued against him. "Was any FIR filed regarding any of these alleged transactions? I have serious objection on this,'' Sibal told the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
However, countering Sibal's argument, Mehta said : "What does this sealed cover contain? Possible transactions that have emerged in the investigation so far in foreign countries and 25 foreign properties of Karti. I cannot go beyond this.'' Sibal, however, maintained these were serious allegations and have nothing to do with the LOC.
"I have serious objection. Not a single property has been made abroad. My father, my family are deeply pained on the wild and baseless allegations levelled against me. I have no undisclosed assets anywhere in the world,'' he said.
"They (CBI) should put an end to these wild allegations. They should file an FIR if they want. Let them show even one undisclosed asset abroad,'' Sibal argued.
Mehta replied that the investigation is going on and it is at a crucial stage. However, the bench said it would take up the matter for final disposal on September 18. First of all, we will deal with the objection whether, without an FIR, you can file this in a sealed cover, the bench observed.
Mehta said the bench could look into the details furnished by the agency in the sealed cover. The bench said its direction staying the Madras High Court order on LOC will remain in force in the meantime and as a result, Karti will not be able to leave India.
The Supreme Court is hearing the CBI's appeal challenging Madras High Court order staying the government's LOC against Karti in the alleged graft case.
On September 1, the CBI had told the top court that there were good, cogent reasons for issuing the LOC against Karti. On August 18, the court had asked Karti to appear before the investigating officer at the CBI headquarters here for questioning in the case.
The bench had given the premier investigative agency the liberty to question Karti as many times it wanted. The apex court had also observed that Karti would not be allowed to leave India without subjecting himself to investigation in the case. The court had then stayed the Madras High Court order putting on hold the LOC issued by the Centre against Karti. The CBI had claimed that the FDI proposal of INX Media, approved by Chidambaram, was fallacious.
The FIR was registered on May 15 before the special CBI judge here and the registration of the case was followed by searches at the residences and offices of Karti and his friends on May 16.