HC seeks response of Chidambaram, son on ED’s plea challenging anticipatory bail
NEW DELHI, Oct 11 (PTI): Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram faced the prospect of arrest by the ED in the money laundering case arising out of the INX Media scam as the probe agency on Friday secured an order from a trial court in Delhi for his production before it from Tihar jail, where he is lodged in the corruption case filed by the CBI.
Chidambaram was also asked by the Delhi High Court to respond to a separate plea moved by the ED challenging his anticipatory bail granted by a trial court in another money laundering case related to the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The development in the trial court, in which Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar ordered production of Chidambaram on October 14 before him, came hours after Justice Suresh Kait of the Delhi High Court entertained the ED plea the Aircel-Maxis case.
The special judge issued a warrant to the Tihar Jail authorities for production of Chidambaram before it on October 14 on the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking his custodial interrogation. The probe agency can possibly arrest him there and quiz him in custody.
Chidambaram’s regular bail in the INX Media corruption case, lodged by the CBI, was dismissed on September 30 by the high court, which he has challenged before the Supreme Court. The Delhi court on October 3 had extended his judicial custody to October 17 in the case. The 74-year old Congress leader was the Union minister for home as also finance between 2004 and 2014 in the UPA regime.
The trial court’s Friday order assumes significance as Chidambaram has been denied anticipatory bail by the high court and the Supreme Court as well in the INX Media money laundering case. ED had also challenged in the high court the anticipatory bail granted to Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
While the trial court will take up the INX Media money laundering case on October 14, the high court has decided to hear the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case on November 29. The high court November 29, will hear the plea along with CBI and ED petitions challenging the trial court’s order discharging former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others in the same case.
Before Chidambaram and his son were made accused in the Aircel Maxis case, a special court had on February 2, 2017 discharged DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the matter.
Later, ED and CBI, filed supplementary charge sheets naming the Chidambarams in the scam. Both the money laundering cases relate to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to the companies.
The Aircel-Maxis case relate to alleged irregularities in grant of FIPB approval in the Rs 3,500-crore deal when Chidambaram was finance minister. The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, being the finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it.
The ED is probing a money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency.
In the INX Media deal, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.