CHENNAI: The look-out circular (LOC) issued by the CBI against Karti, son of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in connection with the INX Media case, has been set aside by the Madras High Court.The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, which quashed the LOC on Monday, however, said that its order would not affect the criminal proceedings launched by the CBI against Karti, subsequent to the filing of an FIR.The issue relates to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas money amounting to `305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.
The CBI filed an FIR on May 15, 2017 against Karti before the Special Judge of the CBI Court in New Delhi for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC read with sections 8 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It issued notice on June 15 in the same year to Karti asking him to appear before the investigating officer (IO) on June 29, 2017. The very next day, the LOC was issued, the petitioner contended.
The Additional Solicitor General submitted that a request for the LOC could have been made in view of the inherent power of the IO to secure the attendance and co-operation of the accused. However, refusing to accept the contention, the bench said that any decision is amenable to judicial review of the writ court, when the same had adverse civil consequences. An LOC, which is a coercive measure to make a person surrender and consequentially interferes with his right of personal liberty, has adverse civil consequences. In exercise of the power of judicial review, the court can interfere with an LOC, the bench said.