Home Law Karti Chidambaram's dream of watching tennis tournaments live cost him Rs 10 crores, SC won't release security deposit just yet

Karti Chidambaram’s dream of watching tennis tournaments live cost him Rs 10 crores, SC won’t release security deposit just yet

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram are facing investigation in the INX Media case

In a setback to Karti Chidambaram, the Supreme Court headed by vacation judges Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed his plea seeking the release of Rs 10 crore security he deposited before travelling abroad. He argued that he is required to pay interest on the loan taken to submit the security deposit.

Refusing to consider his plea, the court asked Karti’s advocate to mention the petition before the bench headed by CJI Gogoi since there is no urgency in the matter.

The apex court had last week, on May 7, the Supreme Court had allowed Karti to travel to the United States, Spain and Germany this month and next month, asking him to deposit another Rs 10 crore as the security deposit. Karti is supposed to travel abroad for watching tennis tournament. A bench comprising Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna gave its approval for his travel abroad with subject to compliance of conditions imposed earlier.

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In January this year, the Supreme Court had granted him permission to travel abroad after depositing Rs 10 crore with the secretary general of the Supreme Court. The court had also asked Karti to file an undertaking that he would return and cooperate with the investigation.

At the time in January, CJI Gogoi had said to Karti, “You 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, will come down heavily”. The bench was hearing Karti’s plea seeking permission to travel to France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom for international tennis tournaments organised by a company called ‘Totus Tennis Ltd’ having its registered office in the UK.

In fact, the company Totus Tennis Ltd is under the IT scanner. On May 3rd 2018, the Madras High court had granted the Income Tax department to proceed against Karti and others under the black money act. The I-T department had sought probe against Karti and the directors of Chess Global Pvt Ltd alleging that they through a UK based company Totus Tennis Ltd and US-based Nano Holdings Ltd have made investments and acquired assets.

Karti Chidambaram and his father P Chidambaram has been facing investigation in a number of cases including money laundering and having undisclosed foreign assets. Karti Chidambaram has been charged in cases like INX Media case and Aircel Maxis case. P Chidambaram has also been facing an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Aircel Maxis case.

In 2007, INX Media, which was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukherjee received a foreign investment of about Rs 305 crores. For that INX Media needed clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) in May 2017 against alleged violations in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media. P Chidambaram was then serving as the Union finance minister under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Karti was arrested in February 2018 by the CBI in the INX Media case. CBI had accused him of receiving a bribe of Rs 3.5 crores from the Peter and Indrani Mukherjee owned INX Media Pvt Ltd. INX Media was later named as 9X. However, he was later granted bail.

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