A Delhi court on Wednesday granted protection from arrest to former Union Minister P Chidambaram in Aircel Maxis money laundering case after the latter moved an anticipatory bail plea. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, urged the court to grant him the relief considering the former minister has clean antecedents and deep roots in society.
While granting protection, the court said that no coercive action can be taken against him till the next hearing which will take place on June 5. However, the court said that the senior Congress leader has to join the investigation whenever he is summoned by the ED.
In his plea, Chidambaram said all the evidence in the matter appears to be documentary in nature which is already in the possession of the incumbent government and nothing was to be recovered from him.
Special Judge OP Saini sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate on Chidambaram’s plea. ED’s lawyer Nitesh Rana submitted that Chidambaram is “evading” from joining the investigation. “He had been summoned on May 30 which he did not join till now. He is summoned again on June 5.” ED submitted to the court that they will file a reply on the application by June 5.
The CBI had arrested P Chidambaram’s son Karti in connection with the case in February this year. However, a Delhi court had on May 2 extended till July 10 the interim protection from arrest to Karti in two cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED in the Aircel-Maxis matter.
The matter pertains to grant of FIPB clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel. Cases were lodged by the CBI and the ED in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Both agencies are trying to find out how Karti allegedly managed to get a clearance from the FIPB for the Aircel-Maxis deal.
In September 2015, the CBI had filed its status report regarding a probe into the FIPB approvals in the case. The agency had in June 2016 also issued a notice to A Palaniappan, director of Chess Management Services, a company promoted by Karti.
(With inputs from agencies)