Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019 | Last Update : 02:56 PM IST

Delhi HC rejects P Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea in INX Media scam involving Rs 305 crore

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Aug 20, 2019, 3:29 pm IST
Updated : Aug 20, 2019, 6:14 pm IST

His role is under scanner of various investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram (Photo: PTI)
 Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Delhi High Court, on Tuesday, has dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of former finance minister P Chidambaram in corruption, money laundering cases related to INX Media scam.

Justice Sunil Gaur had reserved the decision on January 25, News18 reported.

Chidambaram has moved Supreme Court against the order of the high court. The matter, lined up for tomorrow, will be heard by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

During the arguments, both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had opposed Chidambaram's plea on the ground that his custodial interrogation was required as he evaded questions.

The investigating agencies asserted that during Chidambaram's tenure, Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance was granted to INX Media for receiving foreign funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore.

ED argued that the companies in which money was transferred are directly or indirectly controlled by Chidambaram's son, Karti, and they believe that the FIPB approval was granted to INX Media on his son's insistence.

The high court said the "magnitude and enormity" of material produced by the investigating agencies "dis-entitles him from any pre-arrest bail".

"This is an economic offence and has to be dealt with iron hands... The hands of investigating agencies cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offence," the court said. The judge also said he petitioner has been "evasive in his replies and has not cooperated with the investigations".

Karti Chidambaram -- who is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI -- has been accused of getting the government clearance for INX Media. Last year, he was arrested in the case and remained in custody for 23 days.

Interim protection from arrest was granted to Chidambaram by the high court on July 25, 2018, in both the cases and it was extended from time to time.

Later, Chidambaram discussed the possibilities with senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid after the Delhi High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

Sibal was asked by Supreme Court official to place Chidambaram's petition before Registrar (Judicial) who took the call for putting it before the CJI.

The development came minutes after the high court declined interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram for approaching the Supreme Court.

After the high court denied him relief, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Chidambaram, sought stay on the operation of the order for three days, which the court denied.

Chidambaram's role is under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal amounting to Rs 3,500 crore and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.

In the INX Media case, an FIR was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. Later, the ED lodged money laundering case in this regard.

INX Media was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea when the alleged laundering took place. Mukerjea couple are accused of murdering Sheena Bora.

The couple had incriminated Chidambaram by stating that they had bribed him to get illegal permissions and grants in their favour.

Tags: p chidambaram, inx media scam
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi