The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of former finance minister P Chidambaram in alleged corruption and money-laundering cases related to the INX Media case.
While dismissing his pleas, the high court said that “facts of the case prima facie reveal that” he is the “kingpin that is the key conspirator in the case”.
Justice Sunil Gaur vacated his July 25, 2018 order granting interim protection from arrest in both the cases, which was being extended from time to time. “Both applications (seeking anticipatory bail) are dismissed,” the judge said.
The moment the court said that the applications are dismissed, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan urged the court that at least two-three days more protection be given to his client, which was declined.
The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of the investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore during his tenure as the finance minister under UPA-1. In the INX media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007. Thereafter, the ED had last year lodged the money-laundering case in this regard.
Explained: Chidambaram’s involvement in INX Media case
His son Karti Chidambaram is also an accused in the case and was arrested by the CBI on February 28 last year. Later he was granted bail by the Delhi High Court.
Chidambaram in his plea before the high court had said that he does not have a copy of the FIR registered by the ED as it has not been provided to him till date.
On May 31 last year, the former finance minister had moved court, seeking interim protection from arrest in the alleged INX Media corruption case. Subsequently, he was given protection from arrest.
On July 4, a Delhi court had also allowed Indrani Mukerjea, the former head of the INX Media, to turn an approver in the CBI case.
“He came to know about registration of the FIR from various summons received by his son from the ED, directing Karti to join the investigation,” it had said.
The plea had claimed that during the investigation of the ED’s case, which has been going on for over a year, no summon has been issued to Chidambaram till date, let alone any allegation of him evading the process of law or fleeing from the process of law or interfering with the investigation in any manner.
“There is not even a slightest whisper about his tampering with any evidence or hampering/impeding the process of investigation,” it had said, while seeking the relief.
The CBI had earlier told the court that Chidambaram was needed for custodial interrogation in the INX Media case. The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of the investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.
Chidambaram is also under investigation in the alleged corruption in the Aircel-Maxis deal. However, Chidambaram has protection from arrest in the case lodged by both CBI and ED from the trial court.