PTI Photo by Arun Sharma
PTI Photo by Arun Sharma

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram to travel abroad after depositing Rs 10 crore with its registry but asked him to cooperate with the probe in the INX Media and Aircel Maxis cases, saying “don’t play around with the law”. The apex court asked Karti to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 5, 6, 7 and 12 for questioning in connection with the INX Media and Aircel Maxis cases.

“You go wherever you want to go, between February 10 and 26 but you must cooperate with the investigation,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

“Please tell your clients that he will have to cooperate. You have not cooperated. We wanted to say a lot of things. We are not saying them right now,” the bench said.

The top court had on Monday asked the ED to specify the date on which it wants to interrogate Karti. Besides asking Karti to deposit Rs 10 crore with the secretary general of the Supreme Court, the bench also asked him to file an undertaking that he would return and cooperate with the investigation.

Karti has sought permission to travel abroad from February 10 to 26 and again from March 23 to 31. The bench was hearing Karti’s plea seeking permission to travel to France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom for the next few months for international tennis tournaments organised by a company called ‘Totus Tennis Ltd’ having its registered office in the UK.

The plea, which also said that Karti is associated with tennis as a “former player, current administrator and entrepreneur”, is being opposed by the ED. The court had on Monday said that it will ensure that he appears before the agency and also goes for his tennis assignment, adding that “No tennis for him if he evades”.

The apex court had earlier refused urgent hearing on the plea of Karti saying, “Who is Karti? Karti Chidambaram, you are saying? Let him stay where he is. We have more important matters to decide”. On September 18 last year it had allowed Karti to travel to the UK from September 20-30. Karti is facing criminal cases which are being investigated by the ED and the CBI.

One of the cases relates to the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving foreign funds of Rs 305 crore when his father was the finance minister. The ED had said that Karti, who is also facing proceedings in cases like Aircel-Maxis and money laundering matters, has been “blatantly misusing” the liberty granted by court in allowing him to travel abroad and has been using the same to protract the investigation in the case.

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