Aircel-Maxis: Court posts order on Chidambaram, Karti’s bail pleas to Sep 5

The father-son duo were given interim protection from arrest by the court after they had filed anticipatory bail applications in the case.

A Delhi court on Monday (September 2) reserved for September 5 its order on the anticipatory bail pleas of former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis cases lodged by the CBI and the ED.

Special Judge OP Saini listed the matter for orders after hearing the submissions of the probe agencies and the Chidambaram’s. The CBI and the ED sought in court the custodial interrogation of the Chidambaram’s in cases arising out of the Aircel-Maxis scam saying they have been non-cooperative in the investigation.

Chidambaram, during the UPA regime, granted approval to the Aircel-Maxis deal beyond his capacity which benefitted certain persons and received kickbacks, the probe agencies alleged. Opposing the Congress leader and his son Kartis protection from arrest, the agencies said the two will hamper the probe. They also opposed the anticipatory bail applications filed by the father-son duo. The probe agencies told the court that Chidambaram, 73, and his son have committed serious economic offences and there was a larger conspiracy against the public and national interest.

The Chidambaram’s need to be dealt with iron hand, the CBI said maintaining that the probe in the Aircel-Maxis corruption case is still going on. The ED said the Chidambaram’s are accused of money laundering, creating shell companies and committing other offences. There are reasons to believe that Chidambaram and Karti carried out money laundering which is sufficient for their arrest.

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Earlier, the court had said that it was not happy with the probe agencies for seeking repeated adjournments and had given the ultimatum that if they would not argue the matter, it would pass the order on September 3. The court said they have been seeking adjournments in the cases for over a year and it has become “embarrassing” to continue with the matter in this manner. It had given ultimatum to the probe agencies that onus is on them to make arguments against the anticipatory bail pleas of the Chidambaram’s and they have to make their stand clear as soon as possible as the order would be pronounced on September 3.

The court on August 23 had extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram and Karti till September 3. The cases relate to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the ₹3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal when P Chidambaram was finance minister. The father-son duo were given interim protection from arrest by the court after they had filed anticipatory bail applications in the case. Their protection from arrest has been extended from time to time. The previous extension was ending on August 23.

Chidambaram and Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case on July 19 last year. The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, when 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 also probing a separate money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambaram’s have been questioned by the agency and their anticipatory bail is pending. The Chidambaram’s are under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal as also the INX Media case involving ₹305 crore.

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