The Calcutta High Court on Monday granted interim protection from arrest for six weeks to Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union minister P Chidambaram, in connection with a probe into the Saradha chit fund scam case.
A division bench headed by Justice Joymalya Bagchi, however, kept Nalini’s application for anticipatory bail on hold and directed her to cooperate with the investigation.
The court also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Nalini to file affidavits in support of their respective stands in the case.
Defence lawyer Pradeep Ghosh highlighted that the sixth supplementary chargesheet filed in the case on January 11 had mentioned her as an accused in the Saradha chit fund case, while the former charge sheet filed in 2016 did not name her as an accused.
Saradha Group’s chit fund company was running several collective investment schemes. Acting upon a Supreme Court order, a multi-agency probe along with the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was initiated.
According to the ED, Nalini was allegedly paid a legal fee of Rs 1.3 crore by the Saradha Group for her appearances in court and the company’s Law Board over a television channel purchase deal.
Ghosh, however, denied the claims and said that the money was paid to Nalini as a legal advisor of Manoranjana Sinh, the estranged wife of former Union minister Matang Sinh.
On June 4, 2013, CBI had registered four cases in connection with the scam. Chairman of Saradha Group Sudipta Sen was arrested from a hotel in Kashmir in the same year along with two others.