SC Quashes CBI Plea Opposing Karti Chidambaram’s Bail in INX Case
The bench stated that it would not interfere with the bail granted to Karti but left the question of law open.
The Supreme Court on Friday, 3 August refused to interfere with a Delhi high court order granting bail to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, for alleged financial irregularities related to INX Media.
“When it comes to the question of liberty, the courts do not go into technicality,” a bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.
The bench stated that it would not interfere with the bail granted to Karti but left the question of law open – on whether he can approach the High Court when his application for bail was already pending before the trial court.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said that the question of law has to be kept open as invoking powers of concurrent jurisdiction of high court may be a case of "forum shopping".
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Karti, said there is already a judgement in which concurrent jurisdiction of high court can be invoked.
On 25 June, the CBI moved the apex court challenging the high court order granting bail to Karti.
The probe agency claimed in its appeal that it was “impermissible in law” for the high court to entertain Karti’s bail plea when an application seeking a similar relief was pending before the trial court.
On 23 March, a single judge bench of the high court granted bail to Karti, who was arrested on 28 February by the CBI, saying the relief should not be refused unless the crime was of the “highest magnitude” entailing “severe punishment”.
Karti was arrested from Chennai in connection with a FIR lodged on 15 May last year, which had alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media for receiving funds of about Rs 305 crore from overseas in 2007 when his father P Chidambaram was Union finance minister.
Both Chidambaram and Karti have denied all allegations made by CBI, as well as the Enforcement Directorate.
The CBI initially alleged that Karti received Rs 10 lakh as bribe for facilitating the FIPB clearance to INX Media. It later revised the figure to $ 1 million.
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