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Have just one overseas assets and a foreign bank account, Karti Chidambaram tells SC

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, that he has just one overseas bank account and an asset as he denied the CBI allegation that he holds multiple foreign bank accounts and also undisclosed assets.

Karti Chidambram is facing probe for his alleged role in FIPB clearance for INX Media Ltd when his father was the Union Finance Minister.

He also also sought the court’s permission to travel abroad, from October 19 to November 13, for the admission of his daughter to Cambridge University.

Contending that he has just one overseas asset, the finances for which were sent through nationalised banks under the RBI’s liberalised remittance scheme (LRS), Karti Chidambram told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that his family also “has no other overseas property”.

“I categorically state once again that all my assets are lawfully acquired and are disclosed in all my statutory filings,” he told the top court in an affidavit filed on Monday.

“My family has only one overseas property which was acquired by transfer of funds through nationalised banks in India through Liberalised Remittance Scheme of the Reserve Bank of India by following the process and proper application made through the said nationalised banks in their capacity as authorised dealers”.

Appearing for the junior Chidambaram, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said that his client had just one overseas account which was opened in 2016 in Britain’s Metro Bank and that he had never held any bank account abroad prior to that, barring the time he was a student in the US and Britain between 1989 and 1995.

The affidavit by Karti Chidambaram said that all remittances in his British account were only from his wife and daughter’s disclosed bank accounts in India.

“The transfers were affected under the LRS of the RBI through nationalised banks and were made by scrupulously following the law and rules of the country,” Sibal told the court.

Reiterating that his client’s hands were clean, he asked the court to allow Karti Chidambaram to travel abroad, stressing that even on an earlier occasion he had returned after being called by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning.

Addressing the CBI’s allegation that Karti Chidambaram would use his foreign visit to close his accounts and tamper with evidence, Sibal told the court that he undertakes that during his visit abroad, he will not go to any bank.

Karti Chidambram said that the “only banking activity he conducted during his visit to the UK, post registration of FIR by the CBI related to two accounts (account and sub-account) that were maintained by me with the Metro Bank, and subsequent access to banking facilities due to unilateral decision taken by the Metro Bank to close the accounts after complying with all statutory and KYC norms”.

He said that the said account was opened on June 1, 2016 and have been rendered non-operational on account of the unilateral decisions of the bank on June 7 this year.

“Therefore the aspersions made by the CBI are completely unjustified, and are evidently an attempt to tarnish my name and reputation in the public domain,” he said in his affidavit.

The hearing was adjourned till Tuesday as the CBI will tell the court if it was ready to share with Karti Chidambaram the documents it submitted to the court in a sealed cover in the lookout circular case to cement its case for the continuation of the look-out circular issued against him.