New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea by Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, challenging summons issued to him in the INX Media money laundering case.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud refused to grant him protection against arrest by the ED, a plea strongly urged by senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Chidambaram.
While posting the matter for hearing on Thursday, the bench said that it would only examine the question of law raised by Sibal.
The order said: “Needless to emphasise, our present order shall have no impact on any proceedings pending against the petitioner in any court.”
Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned the maintainability of the petition by Chidambaram junior challenging the summons.
Responding to Mehta, Sibal said: “If steps are taken to take away or curtail the liberty of a person without following the procedure in an enactment, that can be agitated by way of a writ petition and that is a fundamental right.”
Addressing the court, Sibal said the ED could not have acted against Chidambaram without an FIR indicating whether the offence being alleged against his client was cognizable or non-cognizable.
He told the court that Chidambaram was being proceeded against by the ED for the same transaction under which the CBI has taken him into custody.
Mocking the allegations, Sibal said loan advanced by father to his son was being projected as money laundering and asserted that every transaction being questioned is through banking channels.
On February 28, Karti Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI that is investigating allegations of his taking money for FIPB clearance to INX Media — now renamed 9X Media — when his father was Finance Minister.
He has dubbed the allegations as “politically motivated”.