SC seeks documents to justify lookout notice against Karti

SC seeks documents to justify lookout notice against Karti

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the CBI to show documents to justify its lookout circular against Karti Chidambaram to prevent him from going abroad.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to present the documents, in sealed envelopes, on Wednesday.

After initial protests, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Karti, relented before the court to allow the CBI to present the materials to support its “innuendos” (charges).

“Let him show the documents that I have opened bank accounts under my signature - other than the one I opened in 2016 and the one relating to my student days abroad,” he said.

Sibal said Karti was not a fugitive but he was being treated worse than an undertrial. Mehta, for his part, maintained that the CBI was adopting the least invasive method with him.

Sibal, however, insisted that he should also be shown those documents to enable him to respond. At the same time, Sibal maintained that the FIR lodged by the CBI in May was pertaining to the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media in 2007 and allegation of payment of Rs 10 lakh to Karti. It has got nothing to do with the opening of bank accounts abroad, he said.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked Sibal, “Do you think your past conduct would not have any bearing on this case?”

“How do you deny him (CBI) an opportunity for placing the documents? This is for the purpose of deciding if you can be allowed to go abroad. You have made a candid disclosure that you have one bank account and one property in England. We will see if documents are relatable or connectable to you,” the bench told Sibal.

The court also sought to know from the CBI why permission should not be granted to Karti to go abroad for 10 days as he wanted to admit his daughter in Cambridge. “Unless you see the documents, please don't make up your mind,” Mehta said.

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