Delhi High Court grants interim relief to Karti Chidambaram

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This is an interim relief for the 46-year-old businessman that comes a day after the apex court transferred the case to the Delhi High Court with his plea to cancel the summons issued by ED.

They, however, changed tactic to allow them to move the High Court after the Court appeared agreeing to Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's submission that any interim protection to Karti would set a wrong precedent in 50 similar cases involving "ordinary criminals" that were pending before the court.

Karti has sought the court's direction to strike down the powers of arrest of the ED under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution dealing with rights of people for equality before law and protection of personal liberty.

Karti Chidambaram is being investigated for allegedly receiving money to facilitate Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister in the UPA government.

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"We would request the Chief Justice of the High Court to allocate the matter to a bench that would deal with the matter preferably on March 9", the bench said.

The order gives the central investigative agency to keep Karti in its custody till March 12. The investigative agency had sought to remand him to 15-day custody for further questioning, which would include confronting him with evidence. He shall also be directed not to leave the country and surrender his passport, it said.

Karti has been in CBI custody since his arrest on February 28.

The court also extended the judicial custody of Karti's CA S Bhaskararaman, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the case, till March 22.

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The ASG said the matter was at a crucial stage of probe, and a separate CBI investigation was going on in which he is already in CBI custody. This new extension is because the organization has found new material that further incriminates Kart in the case. The CBI had lodged an FIR on 15 May previous year alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. P Chidambaram leaves court premises after hearing ends.

The CBI had initially alleged that Karti received Rs 10 lakh as bribe for the FIPB clearance.

Meanwhile the CBI also moved applications seeking the production of Indrani Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea and Karti's chartered accountant, Bhaskararaman.

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