Concurring with the Centre’s view that the probe over money laundering charges on Aircel-Maxis deal was being monitored by the Supreme Court, the Madras High Court today dismissed a batch of petitions including that of former Union minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti challenging summons by the Enforcement Directorate. Petitioners, including Karti Chidambaram and Advantage Strategic Consultants Private Limited’s directors had challenged the summons. The firm, facing probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal had challenged the search operations (besides the summons) conducted in its premises as against the law.
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Karti, through his power of attorney N R R Arun Natarajan, had sough quashing the summons issued to him by ED.
He had, inter alia contended that the summons was malice in law, adding a campaign was on to bring discredit and harm to the reputation of his father Chidambaram, a leading Opposition leader. Karti had received ED summons last year, in June, July and August.
On November 30 last year, P Chidambaram alleged in the High Court that the ED proceedings against his son under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act had been launched to cause political embarrassment to him.
It was contended by Advantage Consultants that the summons and searches carried out in December 2015 by the ED violated Article 14 of the Constitution and were disproportionate to the powers conferred under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, read with the Income Tax Act. Similar grounds were cited by Karti Chidambaram against the summons.
After hearing arguments of both sides, Justice B Rajendran concurred with the argument of the Centre’s counsel that the overall probe and related matters in the Aircel-Maxis case were being monitored by the Supreme Court.
Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover argued that the present petitions were outside of the jurisdiction of the High Court.
In his order, the Judge said “since the investigation carried on by the authorities is being monitored by the Supreme Court, it is too early for this court to take up these writ petitions for adjudication on merits.”
He said the preliminary objection raised by ED is “sustained,” adding the petitions were dismissed as “they are not maintainable before this court.”