The Delhi High Court, on March 11, allowed a plea by the CBI for taking on record additional submissions in the anticipatory bail plea of former Union minister P Chidambaram in connection with the INX media case.
Justice Sunil Gaur took the submissions on record and again reserved the order on the anticipatory bail of the senior Congress leader. The court had on January 25 reserved its order on Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea in the cases lodged by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister in the UPA I government. The ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard last year.
In its application filed through central government standing counsel Ripu Daman Bhardwaj, the CBI said it wanted to file additional submission regarding ongoing investigation in larger interest of justice. Earlier, while opposing the anticipatory bail plea, the CBI and the ED had asserted that custodial interrogation of Chidambaram was required in the case as he was evasive during questioning.
The high court had reserved its order and said that the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram will continue till the decision is passed on his plea for anticipatory bail. It had on July 25, 2018 granted interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram in both the cases and it was extended from time to time. The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the ₹3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving ₹305 crore.
It was during his tenure as finance minister that clearances from the FIPB were given to the two ventures. A trial court here had also on May 30, 2018 directed the ED not to take coercive action against Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.
He was also granted protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case, in which he and his son Karti have been named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI. The interim protection has been extended from time to time. Chidambaram’s petition had said that though no summons had ever been served on him by the ED in this case, he had an apprehension of arrest in view of the summons issued to him by the CBI, which was investigating the scheduled offence.