Well-known software inventor and thinker Sree Iyer has raised questions on Karthi Chidambaram—currently under CBI scanner—being allowed to travel abroad, ostensibly to accompany his daughter Aditi to Cambridge University, UK, where she is seeking admission. Citing relevant dates from Cambridge University’s academic calendar, Iyer has alleged that Karthi’s travel dates—1 to 10 December—do not match with the university’s admission dates. 

Karthi is the son of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram. The CBI had in the recent past issued a lookout circular against Karthi on 18 July after their investigation was reported to have found irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance, which his father P. Chidambaram awarded to a media house during the UPA regime, in which he was heading the Finance Ministry. Karthi has been named an accused in the case. The lookout notice stipulated that Karthi cannot travel abroad without the agency’s permission.

Iyer, who has 36 patents in areas of hardware, software, encryption and systems, said that a “quick read (of the Cambridge University’s academic calendar) suggests that the next term (Lent) begins on Jan 5, 2018. The previous term ends on Dec 19th. So why is Karthi leaving on Dec 1st? Is it really Cambridge or something near Cambridge? Even that does not jell…”

He further argued, mentioning his own graduation days at the US and the traditions prevalent then, that it was very unusual for parents to accompany students for completing admission procedures. “I cast my mind back to my student days when I arrived in the United States as a Graduate student, with 10 dollars in my pocket. It was late August and I had to take a Bus to go to the campus, which was a further 60 miles (100 km) from the airport. I knew no one in the University and managed to survive (just like hundreds of others who were going to college). I did not see any parent (US or foreign) who accompanied the student in the year I started. I do know of (only) one student whose parents accompanied him to the University,” he has written in a letter.

Iyer added: “I am sure Supreme Court, the CBI lawyer and others carefully went through Karthi’s application to ascertain the dates/ venues/ letter of admission etc. Will Karthi clear the air and put at ease the fears of inquiring minds?”

The Supreme Court on Monday, while replying to an application filed by Karthi, granted him permission to travel to UK for 10 days for his daughter’s admission. The CBI had told the SC that “If the court is inclined to allow the respondent [Karthi Chidambaram] to leave India for a limited duration and for the aforesaid purpose [admission of his daughter], it may do so”.