The Supreme Court on Friday directed Karti Chidambaram to appear before an investigating officer at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in New Delhi on 23 August in connection with a corruption case registered against him.
The Madras High Court had permitted Karti to travel overseas and he was scheduled to fly out on August 16.
The CBI had summoned Karti between 27-29 June, but he, through his lawyers, informed the investigating team that he needed more time, before appearing for questioning.
Karti responded saying that he had no problem in appearing before the court, however, he would need protection. But Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the agency, pointed out that this was in connection with "some other offence" and not the case related to FIPB clearance for INX Media. But the bench cut short Subramanium as he proceeded to present the merits of the case, and said, "We are not interested in hearing the merits of the case".
In his petition, Karti Chidambaram contended that the look-out notice was part of the central government's political vendetta against his family, had been issued arbitrarily and could not prevent him from travelling overseas. The answer is no, the CJI also said. That's not our job.
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Chief justice J.S. Khehar said that whether or not the look-out circular would continue to operate against him would depend on the result of the investigation.
The apex court, which stayed the Madras High Court order putting on hold the lookout circular (LOC) issued by the Centre against Karti, had sought to know when he would make his appearance for questioning before CBI. "But once that goal is subserved, nothing survives", said Justice Chandrachud.
The court however said that it was not ready to take the risk of recording his undertaking and later find that he has gone overseas. "If there is material, then you can arrest him".
The matter will be heard next on 1 September.
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