Karnan, who had been evading arrest since the May 9 Supreme Court order awarding a six-month jail term, was arrested last night by a team of West Bengal CID from a private resort at Malumichampatti, about six km from Coimbatore, where he was "hiding" for the past few days.
"His medical tests were completed at the airport and he was taken straightaway to the jail", the officer said.
Tight security arrangements were made at the airport where senior police officers, including Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, were present.
The former high court judge was brought to Chennai from Coimbatore by a private airline past midnight yesterday and later accommodated in the retiring room in the airport complex amid tight security.
Three police teams from Kolkata were camping in Coimbatore and traced Karnan on the basis of his mobile phone calls with the Tamil Nadu Police providing technical support to trace his whereabouts, a senior local police officer had said.
Karnan, who earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the apex court, had retired from service on June 12 as a fugitive.
A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, had sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.
Three days after the sentence, Karnan had moved the apex court for staying his arrest.
Enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1983, Karnan was appointed a judge of the Madras High Court in 2009. He was transferred to the Calcutta High Court on March 11, 2016.