New Delhi: Denying he held undisclosed assets abroad, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Centre should disclose any overseas assets held by him or his family and seize them.
“My father, mother, wife, and myself are income tax payers. If the government or its agencies can tell we have these properties, we will execute decrees in their favour and the government can take their possession,” Karti Chidambaram told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench, also comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, that the Central Bureau of Investigation was levelling “reckless and wild allegations” and that nothing had emerged during the course of his client Karti Chidambaram’s questioning by the central agency that pointed to the existence of undiscovered overseas properties owned by the family.
Sibal said this as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, produced in a sealed cover what he said were details of properties linked to Karti Chidambaram. He said information about these had surfaced during the course of his questioning by the agency.
Sibal objected and said the CBI could not place before the court the documents allegedly linked to his client without filing a separate FIR. He told the court that nothing, as claimed by the CBI, had emerged during the course of Karti Chidambaram’s questioning. He said the CBI could only produce documents relating to the case in respect of which a lookout notice was issued to ensure that Karti Chidambaram did not leave the country.
Mehta told the court that he would establish that the details of all the assets submitted in the sealed cover were linked to the matter under investigation. The court then adjourned the matter, saying it would hear it on September 18 and take a final decision. The court is hearing the CBI’s plea challenging the Madras High Court order staying the lookout notice against Karti Chidambaram and others. The High Court order was, in turn, stayed by the apex court.
The matter relates to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media when P. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government.
Karti Chidambaram is alleged to have received Rs 3.5 crore from Mumbai-based INX media, now 9X Media, for helping it get FIPB clearance when it was run by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, both accused in the Sheena Bora murder case. The FIR in the case does not mention Chidambaram senior, though it said he cleared the FIPB approval for Rs 4.62 crore of Foreign Direct Investment in the firm at a FIPB meeting on May 18, 2007.