CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has stayed the operation of the ‘look-out notices’ issued against Karti, son of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and three of his associates.
Justice M Duraiswamy granted the injunction while passing interim orders on the writ petitions from Karti and others on Thursday. The stay will be in force until September 4, when the cases will be taken up for further hearing.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan is to file the counter.
The other four are CBN Reddy, Ravi Viswanathan, Mohanan Rajesh and S Baskar Raman.
In his petition, Karti contended that the LOC was part of the Central government’s ‘political vendetta’ and it was issued arbitrarily and without jurisdiction to prevent him from travelling abroad. He had responded to the summons issued by the CBI in connection with the case and there was no absolute cause of action for the issuance of the LOC.
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 Union Finance Minister in 2007.
The senior counsel for Karti and others - Gopal Subramaniam and Satish Parasaran - submitted that the LOC is a consequence of the FIR filed before the Special Court for CBI Cases at Patiala in New Delhi.
No reason was assigned for the issuance of the LOC, which can be issued only in case of non-availability of an accused person. It is an affront to the dignity of the individual. The International Convention says that the LOC cannot be used for political reasons, they added.
Rajagopalan submitted that the LOC was issued as the accused persons had failed to appear before the investigating officer twice despite issuance of summons. The agency might have very well arrested him but restricted only to issuance of the LOC. His liberty has not been curtailed. The LOC is to make sure that he is available for investigation. “Let him co-operate with the investigation and if he appears, the matter will be settled,” Rajagopalan said and added that it was apprehended that if he went abroad, he would tamper with the witnesses.