Published On: Tue, Jan 30th, 2018

SC seeks ED’s response on Karti Chidambram’s plea against searches

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Enforcement Directorate to respond to a plea by Karti Chidambaram – son of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram – seeking top court declaration that searches carried out at his Chennai residence earlier this month were illegal, vexatious and without any jurisdiction.

Asking the ED to respond, the court directed the listing of the matter on March 8 for final hearing

The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy sought the agency’s response on Karti Chidambaram’s application contending that the searches conducted at his premises on January 13 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, were “without jurisdiction, abuse of authority, vitiated by malafides, arbitrary and violative of Article 14” of the Constitution.

The searches relates to alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance in Aircel-Maxis case, when his father was minister and Karti Chidambaram the alleged beneficiary.

He contended that searches were vexatious as they were ordered without recording reasons by the authorizing officer, adding vexatious searches are punishable under Section 62 of the Act.

Referring to the February 2, 2017 order of the Special CBI court discharging Maran brothers – Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran, Karti Chidambaram said that that there was no offence relating to the FIPB approval to Global Communications Holdings Services Ltd, Mauritius to invest in Aircel to be investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

“In the absence of a predicate/schedule offence, there is no proceeds of crime and hence the ED has no jurisdiction to investigate any offence of money laundering under PMLA or to invoke power under Section 5 of PMLA and attach the property of the petitioner,” he said in his application.

In his application, he also said that the authorization for searches at his residence in Chennai did not refer to any details of the case being investigated by the ED, but the search team clearly stated that the searched related to the FIPB approval granted by the then Finance Minister in the Aircel Maxis proposal.

Karti Chidambran has filed his application in the matter in which he has moved the top court in 2017 challenging the provisional attachment of Rs 90,00,000 by the ED on September 23, 2017.

Asking the ED to respond, the court directed the listing of the matter on March 8 for final hearing.

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