CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today reserved its order on maintainability of a petition by former union minister P Chidambaram's son Karti, seeking to quash the fresh summons issued by CBI for questioning him in connection with a corruption case.
Justice P Velmurugan reserved the order on the petition for August 22.
The CBI had on July 19 issued the summons asking Karti to appear before it two days later for questioning in the matter related to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to media group INX Media for receiving funds from Mauritius when his father was the finance minister.
The agency has alleged that a firm "indirectly controlled" by Karti had received money from INX Media, run by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea in 2007.
This was the second summons issued by CBI in the case.
Earlier, it had asked Karti and four others to appear for questioning on June 27 and 29. He had then informed the CBI through his lawyer that he needed more time to appear.
During the hearing on maintainability of the petition earlier, the CBI had opposed the petition arguing it was not maintainable and wanted the court to dismiss it.
Senior counsel Goal Subramaniam, representing Karti, had submitted it was a settled principle of law that issuing summons to an accused and interrogating him would amount to a violation of fundamental right guaranteed under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
He had argued that the article states that no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself and thus the notice summoning his client was liable to be set aside.
An FIR has been registered against Karti and INX Media along with eight others for alleged irregularities in FIPB clearance given to the media house for receiving foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2007.
The probe agency had claimed that the FDI proposal of the media house was "fallacious" but then finance minister Chidambaram had cleared it.
P Chidambaram had issued a strong statement in response to the FIR, saying that the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son.
In May, the agency had conducted raids at the premises of Karti, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai in connection with the case.
Incidentally, during the pendency of the petition challenging the summons, a 'look out circular' was issued by the government against Karti and subsequently stayed by the high court.
However, the Supreme Court had on August 14 stayed the high court order on an appeal by the Centre after observing that Karti had not joined the investigation in the case.