New Delhi, Oct 10 : The CBI on Tuesday opposed former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram’s plea to the Supreme Court to travel aboard, saying it has serious apprehensions that he would tamper with evidence during his overseas stay.
The agency told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that it has incriminating evidence against Karti Chidambaram which it had already submitted to the court in a sealed cover.
However, Karti Chidambaram, who had sought permission to go to Britain for the admission of his daughter to Cambridge, told the court that the agency should prove that he has other accounts abroad, except from the one he has already disclosed.
Stressing that “tampering is the most potential apprehension that I have”, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that it can look into the material that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has submitted.
He told the court to “listen to what he was not saying”, while contesting Karti Chidambaram’s Monday affidavit where he said that he had just one account in Britain opened in June 2016.
“I am asking the court to look into the material while running a risk that it may say the material provided was trash,” Mehta said.
Setting to rest Mehta’s apprehension, the court said in that case, “we will just say that documents produced by the CBI are not connected or relatable to the case”.
At one point during the course of the hearing, the court indicated that it would allow Karti Chidambaram to go abroad for 10 days.
At this Mehta said: “Let him go for six months, why ten days only.”
The junior Chidambaram, who was represented by senior counsel Kapil Sibal, meanwhile, contested the CBI’s claim that he has undisclosed overseas assets.
Meeting the arguments by the CBI, Sibal told the court that when the investigating agency knows about the undisclosed overseas assets and accounts of his client, it would also come to know if he tampers with them.
Invoking article 21 of the Constitution guaranteeing right to life, Sibal said: “You can prohibit” my client by law to travel abroad but “tell me under what law” since he was being treated worse than an under trial accused.
After a nearly 75 minute hearing, the court directed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
Karti Chidambaram is facing a probe by the CBI for his alleged role in facilitating the 2007 Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for INX Media Ltd and taking favours for it when his father was the Union Finance Minister.