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Karti Chidambaram moves HC against ‘look out circular’

Friday, Aug 4, 2017,19:24 IST By anju A A A

Chennai | Former union minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti today moved the Madras High Court for quashing of a “look out circular” issued against him under the Passport Act over a corruption case filed by the CBI, alleging it was part of the central government’s “political vendetta”.

Karti claimed that the look out circular (LOC) was issued on July 18 though he had responded to the summonses issued by the CBI and that it was done to cause “embarrassment” to him and to ‘throttle’ the voice of his father, “a leading member of the opposition”.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice D Duraiswamy, he adjourned it to August 7 after Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan sought time to get instructions on whether such a circular had been issued.

The case related to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds when his father was the Finance Minister in 2007.

In his petition, Karti contended that circular had been issued arbitrarily and without jurisdiction by the Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) and the Bureau of Immigration under the Union home ministry at the behest of different agencies to prevent him from travelling abroad.

“The circular is a well thought out and meticulously orchestrated fraudulent plan of the CBI to stop me at the airport as and when I proceed abroad by springing an unpleasant surprise on me and leak it to the media that I was detained at the airport and cause embarrassment to me,” he alleged.

Karti also charged that the central government had been pursuing ‘a politically-motivated vendetta’ against his family, especially him, in the past two-and-half years by ‘abusing’ the powers of agencies such as the Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and CBI.

He claimed that the whole aim of the central government was to ‘damage’ their reputation.

Karti said he had responded to the summonses issued by the CBI in connection with the case and there was “no absolute cause of action” for issuance of the LOC.

The petitioner had been summoned twice by the CBI since June this year to appear before it for questioning in connection with alleged irregularities in the clearance given by the FIPB to the media group for allegedly receiving funds from Mauritius when his father was the finance minister in 2007.

Karti had sought time to appear before the CBI, which had on May 15 registered an FIR against him and others alleging that a firm “indirectly controlled” by him had received money from INX Media, run by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.

In his petition, Karti submitted that the LOC, which was used to monitor the arrival departure of foreigners and Indians or to restrict their movement, had been issued to restrain him from going abroad.

Claiming that the CBI issued the summons when he was abroad on personal work, Karti said his counsel had duly informed the agency about this through a letter dated June 20.

He said the LOC was a coercive measure to make a person surrender to the investigating agency only if it was amply demonstrated that he repeatedly and deliberately failed to cooperate with the investigation.

Karti submitted that he made frequent business trips abroad which were always for about two weeks.

Karti said he was scheduled to visit the UK from August 16 for two weeks and that if the LOC was not recalled, his travel plans would be jeopardised.