The Delhi High Court Wednesday extended till September 28 the interim protection from arrest granted to Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media corruption case lodged by the CBI and the ED.
Justice A K Pathak extended the relief to Chidambaram while asking the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file their response to leader’s plea for anticipatory bail in the case.
While agreeing to respond, ED’s counsel Amit Mahajan, opposed to the long date given in the matter and said its a important issue and need to be heard at earliest.
He submitted that a response has already filed by the CBI in the matter.
Justice Pathak, who initially was not inclined for shorter date, later agreed by making it clear that longer dates were given as workload was more due to shortage of judges.
“Aap pehle appointments to karaiye (First get appointments done). There are more than 60 cases on my board which have to heard,” the judge remarked.
Senior advocates Dayan Krishnan, Ramesh Gupta and advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for Chidambaram, seconded the view and said the government was not making appointments which has over-burdened the judges.
On July 25, the court had granted interim protection to Chidambaram from arrest and directed the ED not to take any coercive step against him in the INX Media money laundering case.
It had directed Chidambaram to cooperate with the ED’s investigation as and when required and not leave the country without the court’s prior permission.
The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.
It was during his tenure as finance minister in the UPA-1 government that clearances from the FIPB were given to the two ventures.
A Delhi court had also granted protection from arrest till August 7 to Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case in which he and his son Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI recently.
Chidambaram’s petition had said 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.