On Thursday, there were heated arguments in the Supreme Court with the Enforcement Directorate strongly opposing the green signal given to Karti to withdraw his plea against the probe agency's summons and to approach the Delhi High Court for seeking relief.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing CBI, defended the agency and said there was no effort to keep Karti awake or harass him.
Constantly under bright lights and not allowed to sleep is what Karti Chidambaram's counsel told the Special CBI court which heard his remand application.
However, the bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, acceded to Karti's plea and asked the acting chief justice of the high court to allocate it before an appropriate bench for hearing.
Though Karti, who is arrested on charges of taking money from INX Media for arranging approval for foreign direct investment, has maintained that he has no links with Chennai-based ASCPL, the investigators in the Enforcement Directorate and CBI claimed that INX Media paid ASCPL and such invoices were recovered. The agency can apply for yet another three days of police custody under the law, which allows 15 days of police remand.
Karti was captured on February 28 at the Chennai air terminal on his arrival from the United Kingdom, regarding the FIR held up on May 15 a year ago charging anomalies in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) freedom to INX Media for accepting overseas finances to the tune of about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his dad was the Union finance minister. The second is to allow the CBI to bring the Mukherjeas to Delhi from Mumbai and identify the places where they met Karti Chidambaram. It impleaded the Centre as a necessary party in the case as in the original plea Karti had only made ED a party.
The interim protection from arrest in the case, arising from the INX Media corruption case, came while he was being produced in a special CBI court on expiry of his three-day custody for interrogation. There will be 50 petitions next day.
He said it will set a bad precedent for others who would first approach the apex court by way of petitions seeking interim protection and then seek permission to move high court.
The bench asked Mehta "What if Karti is arrested by the ED as soon as he is released by the CBI from its custody?"
The ED had registered a case against him and others in May past year. "You can interrogate me (Karti) to your delight but there is no need for custody", the senior advocate said. Making it clear that the trial court shall pass orders without getting influenced by the high court's directions today, the bench said certain conditions be imposed on Karti like asking him to appear before the ED, as and when called by the investigating officer, and cooperate in the probe.