A Delhi court on Monday granted former finance minister P Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till August 1 in connection with the FIPB approval granted in the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Chidambaram, his son Karti and others on July 19, alleging that the former Union Minister “dishonestlty and fraudulently” granted FIPB approval for foreign investment of Rs 3,560 crore for which he was not competent.
The Enforcement Directorate had opposed anticipatory bail for P. Chidambaram in the Delhi High Court as it said, “‘Karti Chidambaram was instrumental in getting illegal FIPB approvals with the concurrence and knowledge of the father’
Chidambaram also moved an anticipatory bail plea for “urgent hearing” in Delhi High Court in the INX media case. While the matter was to be heard on Monday, the bench that was to hear it did not assemble. Now the matter has been listed for July 24. Special CBI Judge O P Saini granted relief to the senior Congress leader after he moved a plea for anticipatory bail on Monday morning.
In his bail plea, Chidambaram said the Maran brothers were discharged in the original case — Aircel-Maxis deal —and that the CBI’s allegations of any “irregularity” associated with the grant of FIPB approval by then finance minister did not find any favour with the court. “It is submitted that CBI had sought further investigation on the assumption that the grant of approval was not by competent authority and further investigation was limited to circumstances of the said FIPB approval. (However) CBI raised the allegation regarding the competence of then Finance Minister during the arguments made at the stage of framing of charges… (but) this court held that there is no prima facie case warranting framing of charges,” the anticipatory bail plea said. His bail plea also said that in the discharge order, no “leave” was sought by the CBI to carry on the investigation. “This was important since this court found no illegality in the grant of FIPB approval by the applicant and as such no investigation could have been carried out into the circumstances of grant of the said FIPB approval,” said Chidambaram in his plea.