SC refuses protection to Karti, allows him to approach Delhi High Court

SC refuses protection to Karti, allows him to approach Delhi High Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant any interim protection to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, in the INX Media money laundering case.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud allowed senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid, representing Karti, to approach the Delhi High Court.

"We would request the Chief Justice of the High Court to allocate the matter to a bench that would deal with the matter preferably on March 9," the bench said.

The court also said the HC would deal with any plea for interim protection.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, contended that the petitioner was abusing the process by invoking writ jurisdiction and trying to obtain interim bail, which can otherwise be sought from the competent court under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"I am not challenging the maintainability of the writ petition. The court may examine it. But passing any interim order would have serious repercussions. He (Karti) is not the only person facing a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. You (the court) will have to deal with 50 such petitions everyday. Those people would also say that our constitutional rights are affected, kindly protect us. What message would we be sending," he submitted.

Sibal and Singhvi, for their part, submitted that there is no FIR and no complaint so far in the matter. The case in which Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) has been filed related to the same offence in which the CBI has already put the petitioner under arrest, they said, adding the money trail was of 2006-07. They sought interim protection from arrest for him for seven days.

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