Categories
Crime

CBI custody of Chidambaram extended by a day

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the trial court hearing P Chidambaram’s case to consider his request for interim bail in the INX Media corruption case after the former finance minister pleaded not to send him to Tihar jail under judicial custody. He offered to stay under house arrest instead. The apex court said in the event that Chidambaram’s request for interim bail were not considered by the trial court on 2 September (today), his CBI custody would extend by a day.

The court said it was passing the order keeping in view the observations made earlier in the day by the Supreme Court, which asked the trial court to extend Chidamabaram’s CBI custody by a day.

Chidambaram, after the expiry of his three-day CBI custody granted on 30 August, was produced before special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar who said the Congress leader’s interim bail plea would also be heard after 3:30 PM on Tuesday. “Let the notice of interim bail application be given to CBI for its response on 3 September,” the judge said, in its five-page order.

The judge noted the development of the case in the apex court which had initially asked the trial court to consider Chidambaram’s request for interim bail on Monday itself and said that in case he was not granted the relief, his CBI custody would be extended by three more days.

However, hours after solicitor-general Tushar Mehta’s intervention, a bench of justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna modified the order and advanced the hearing for Tuesday from Thursday (5 September) on Chidambaram’s plea challenging the non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him and remand orders passed by the trial court.

In the trial court, the CBI opposed any relief to Chidambaram and sought an extension of his custodial interrogation by a day. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal moved the interim bail application of the former minister and senior Congress leader, who was arrested on the night of 21 August.

Mehta sought time to reply to Chidambaram’s interim bail plea and said that notice be issued to the CBI as it is required statutorily. “All citizens have to be treated equally,” Mehta said, adding that personal liberty of every citizen is equal. After the judge was informed about Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, he asked if there was any direction by the apex court to seek the relief and to decide on it today itself.

During the hearing, Mehta asked what was so special and extraordinary in this case. Responding to his submission, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, another advocate appearing for Chidambaram, said the Solicitor General would not have been here if it would have been a normal case. Mehta said it would be a serious travesty of justice if the CBI were not given time to reply to the bail plea and demanded 10 days time.

Sibal said he wanted to argue for bail.

While submissions were being made by both the sides, the judge said, “I do not know what order has been passed by the Supreme Court.” Singhvi said that, according to them, the apex court has asked to decide the interim bail plea today itself or extend the police custody till 5 September.

The special court on 30 August had extended Chidambaram’s CBI custody till today. Chidambaram, 73, has been already subjected to custodial interrogation by the CBI for 11 days since his arrest on 21 August after the Delhi High Court on 20 August dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. His son Karti was also present in the court.

Chidambaram, after his arrest by the CBI from his Jor Bagh residence, had been produced before the court on August 22 and was remanded to four-day CBI custody. The CBI had registered an FIR on 15 May 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.

Chidambaram’s CBI custody in the INX Media corruption case expired today, which necessitated the procedures above. He was produced before the concerned trial court during the day.

Earlier, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, told the Supreme Court bench that the former minister had been arrested pursuant to the NBW and he has been in the CBI custody for last 12 days.

“The NBW should not have been issued. Either give me (Chidambara) interim bail or put me in house arrest. Chidambaram should not be sent to Tihar Jail,” Sibal said while questioning the issuance of NBW and the subsequent orders of the trial court remanding the former minister to CBI custody.

Remand orders of the trial court can be set aside by the apex court and Chidambaram should be given interim protection till the top court decides his petition, Sibal added. “He (Chidambaram) has to file regular bail plea,” the bench said, adding, “The competent court is seized of the matter. Why should we skip the jurisdiction of the regular court and the High Court?” To this, the senior advocate said that if Chidambaram was sent to Tihar jail under judicial custody, his petition would become infructuous.

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for CBI, opposed the grant of any interim protection to Chidambaram and said that an accused could not say that he wants to be in either police custody or judicial custody.

Sibal said that Chidambaram would be produced before the trial court today after the expiry of his CBI custody and if he would be sent to Tihar under judicial custody, his petition before the apex court would become infructuous.”Give me (Chidambaram) interim bail or put me in house arrest. He is a 74-year-old man and has been in CBI custody for last 12 days,” Sibal said.

The bench said that Chidambaram could make a request in this regard before the trial court. Sibal said however that the trial court would “reject” his request and the top court should give him protection till the pending petition is decided. The bench, after hearing the submissions, directed Chidambaram to approach the trial court seeking appropriate relief in accordance with the law, including prayer for interim bail.

The bench said it would hear Chidambaram’s plea on 5 September.

Categories
India

Chidambaram asked Peter, Indrani to take care of Karti

New Delhi: Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had asked the then promoters of INX Media Group, Peter and Indrani Mukrerjea, to take care of his son when they met him for FIPB approval, ED Friday told the Supreme Court which protected the Congress leader from arrest till 26 August in the money laundering case lodged by it.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the apex court that during the investigation it found Chidambaram had 11 “immovable properties” and 17 bank accounts abroad and his custodial interrogation was required to unearth the larger conspiracy in the case.

The “most surprising thing” found during the probe was that persons on whose names shell companies were created, had executed the will in the name of Chidambaram’s grand daughter, ED said.

Chidambaram’s lawyers countered the claims of ED and told a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna that he has cooperated with the agency during the investigation and there was no need for any custodial interrogation.

Chidambaram, along with his son Karti, is accused in a case lodged by the CBI on 15 May 2017 alleging irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during he tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, ED had lodged a money laundering case.

During the arguments on Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, told the bench that the agency has “collected innumerable documents/evidence” to show that money has been transferred from one company to another shell company and Chidambaram has various properties in India and abroad “in the name of shell companies”.

He claimed that Chidambaram has “bank accounts” abroad in the name of shell companies and his custodial interrogation is necessary for unravelling the truth.

“CBI has recorded statement of Indrani Mukherjea, which will be tested in the trial, that she and her husband Peter had gone to Chidambaram for FIPB approval and he (Chidambaram) had asked them to take care of his son,” Mehta told the bench.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, told the court that the Delhi High Court, while cancelling the interim protection and rejecting the anticipatory bail plea of Chidambaram on August 20, had taken on record the note submitted by ED which was not even argued during the hearing of the case.

Sibal said they were not given an opportunity to reply to the ED’s note and the judge who pronounced it after seven months copy pasted the note.

“Word by word, comma for comma and full stop for full stop, even adjectives were copied as it is and para wise noting was done,” Sibal said.

“Now if the courts are going to copy paste from the note given by prosecution agencies then how will the people protect themselves,” he added.

Singhvi argued that the high court, in its August 20 order, should not have made observations such as, the time has come for the Parliament to suitably amend the law so that “white collar criminals” do not get anticipatory bail.

“It is quite astonishing,” Singhvi said, adding, that the high court has also referred to the “unconnected” Aircel-Maxis case in the order in which it dealt with the INX Media cases lodged by the CBI and ED.

“The judge cannot refer to an unconnected case. This show that the mind is working to deny him (Chidambaram) bail,” he said.

Mehta, however, said that he would not “criticise” the judge and would not go into “rhetoric” in his arguments.

He said that INX media was controlled by the Mukherjeas, who are also accused in the case. Indrani has now become an approver in the case.

Mehta, who argued that evidence in the case in the form of “digital evidence”, said the high court had gone through the case diary and then arrived at a conclusion to deny him anticipatory bail.

“At a pre charge sheet stage, we cannot divulge many thing except to the court. A hue and cry is being made about vendetta and all,” he told the bench.

He said according to ED’s probe, “illegitimate money” was “transacted illegally” through money laundering and prima facie, shell companies were created in India and abroad by persons who were found to be in “close link” with Chidambaram.

“This is a case of monumental magnitude and I say this with a sense of responsibility,” Mehta told the bench, adding there are certain individuals who will never divulge anything if they are under the “protective umbrella” of anticipatory bail.

He said that when Chidambaram was questioned earlier by the ED, he was “evasive” in his replies and was not answering to the questions put to him.

While opposing grant of interim protection to Chidambaram, Mehta said that the apex court should go through the case diary to satisfy its conscience as to whether custodial interrogation was required or not.

The bench, after hearing the submissions, granted interim protection to Chidambaram till August 26 in the ED’s case.

The top court said it would hear on August 26 the pleas filed by Chidambaram challenging the high court’s August 20 order.

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India

Chidambaram makes submissions after court accepts request

New Delhi: A request that former Union Minister P Chidambaram, arrested in the INX media case, be allowed to make a brief submission was granted by a Delhi court, despite strong objection from the CBI.

Soon after arguments on custodial interrogation got over, senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was appearing for Chidambaram, sought permission from special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that his client be allowed to speak as he wants to throw some light on the questions being asked by the CBI during interrogation.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the CBI, vehemently opposed the request saying the former finance minister has a team of legal stalwarts like senior advocate Kapil Sibal and Singhvi, who have already presented their arguments, and Chidambaram doesn’t need a “crutch” to argue his case.

“Generally, only one lawyer is allowed to argue. But two able lawyers have already made the submissions (on Chidambaram’s behalf). If we allow him, then we should not oppose any accused to make submissions in person across the country. This will set a very wrong precedent. If he himself wants to make submissions then he should not be represented by any counsel,” Mehta said.

Singhvi said there are Supreme Court judgments which say that an accused can make submissions. He was supplemented by Sibal, who said, “Only the accused may say what he exactly wants to say”. To this, Mehta said, “Only when there is no lawyer.”

The court suggested Chidambaram, “You may tell your lawyer whatever you want to say.” However, Singhvi said, “It’s just a matter of two minutes my lord”.

Thereafter, the court allowed Chidamabaram to make the submissions after which he spoke briefly.

Clad in a white ‘mundu’ paired with a full-sleeve white shirt, Chidambaram told the court that on 6 June 2018, when he was called by the agency for questioning for the first time and he had answered all the questions put before him.

“On 6 June 2018, please ask for the transcript.. there is no question which has not been answered. The allegation of 5 million $ whatever was never put before me. Only question. They only asked if I had a foreign (bank) account, I said no. I was then asked if my son had (foreign bank account) to which I said yes ‘My son has with the RBI’s permission’,” he told the court.

Soon after his submission was over, the court reserved its order and the judge left the court room.

The order was pronounced about one-and-a-half hour later. Till then Chidambaram spent time talking to his wife Nalini and son Karti along with lawyer colleagues and party members, including former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.

Before Chidambaram was produced before the court, heavy deployment of security personnel was made in and around the courtroom. The moment CBI brought Chidambaram in the court room, he went straight towards his family members and lawyers and discussed about his case.

He appeared calm and wore a smile on his face while he stood in the box meant for the accused.

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India

Chidambaram exposed after 2016 Aircel-Maxis deal probe

New Delhi: The alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to INX Media first came to light in 2016 when the Enforcement Directorate was probing a similar approval given by the Union finance ministry in the Aircel-Maxis deal. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been arrested by the CBI in the prior case.

The Aircel-Maxis deal is an offshoot of the 2G spectrum allocation case and bears resemblance to the INX Media case.

According to official records, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was looking into the role of a firm named Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (ASCPL), which the investigators claim is indirectly controlled by Karti, son of P Chidambaram, in the Aircel-Maxis case when the firm’s footprints were seen in other similar deals approved by the finance ministry.

Karti Chidambaram has always denied having any control over ASCPL.

Both INX Media and Aircel-Maxis deal cases are being probed by the ED and the CBI for alleged corruption and money laundering.

In December, 2016, the ED’s then joint director (headquarters) Rajeshwar Singh wrote a letter to the then CBI director informing him about unravelling of some new evidences while his team was probing the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

It is after this letter that the CBI filed a criminal case in the INX Media deal on 15 May, 2017. Three days later, the ED took cognisance of the CBI FIR and filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The letter stated that probe has revealed that ASCPL received funds “in the guise of consultancy charges from some more companies and individuals that have received FIPB approvals from the Ministry of Finance.”

It also stated that documents recovered from a seized hard disk from the premises of ASCPL disclosed that INX Media paid “a sum of Rs 9,96,296 to ASCPL vide a cheque number 002914 dated 15 July, 2008.”

The letter also said that the ED has recorded the statements of the managing director and chief financial officer of INX Media who confirmed that such a payment was made.

“The record of payment clubbed with the statement of the MD and CEO of INX Media Pvt Ltd clearly indicates that this payment was not made for any services provided by ASCPL.

“On the contrary, the records also indicate that just after the issue of the cheque, FIPB approval was granted to INX News Pvt Ltd (a group company of INX group) by the Finance Ministry on November 11, 2008,” the ED officer’s letter to the CBI said.

INX Media, it said, had got FIPB approval on 31 May, 2007.

The INX Media case stems from the claim of probe agencies that the media group made downstream financial investment in INX News in alleged contravention of FIPB guidelines. However, rather than taking any action, the FIPB asked the INX group to make fresh application and subsequently approved the request.

“It is relevant to mention that at the relevant time P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister and the payment was received by ASCPL which was controlled by Karti P Chidambaram,” the letter said indicating alleged quid pro quo in the INX Media deal.

The letter stated that ASCPL never had support staff that could render any consultancy or tender advice and documentary evidence suggested that since the inception, it was being controlled by Karti and has been created for his use.

Categories
India

Chidambaram embroiled in 7 cases of corruption

New Delhi: Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was arrested in connection with the INX Media case, appears sunk neck-deep in corruption. In the coming times, his difficulties can only increase.

The INX Media case is just the beginning. The biggest case against him is the scam in the purchase of aeroplanes worth Rs 70,000 crore from Air India and Indian Airlines. The deal was cleared by a group of ministers headed by him.

Chidambaram is facing an investigation in six major cases against him. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already issued a notice to Chidambaram for questioning on 23 August in the much-talked-about plane scam in the Manmohan Singh government.

  1. Chidambaram in Air India scam

Under the Manmohan Singh government, when Praful Patel was the aviation minister from the NCP quota in the UPA, this alleged scam had taken place. The CAG had disclosed it in its report dated 2011. The ED is investigating this matter.

Aviation minister Praful Patel, who was caught in the scam, had claimed that the aircraft deal was cleared by an empowered group of ministers (EGOM) headed by P Chidambaram. After this, the investigating agency turned its attention to Chidambaram. The case relates to the purchase of 43 aircraft and 68 Boeing between 2005 and 2007.

The condition of the government-run airlines was already bad. In such a situation, the purchase of 111 aircraft put an extra burden of Rs 70,000 crore on its finances. Since the day of the revelation by CAG, the CBI and ED are investigating the case.

The CBI has arrested Deepak Talwar, a lobbyist in this case. In May 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to file an FIR to investigate the plane scam.

  1. Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis deal

P Chidambaram is accused also of engineering a scam in the Aircel-Maxis investment case while he was the finance minister. This is a case related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

According to the investigating agencies, investment of Rs 180 crore was allowed in Aircel Maxis. As the then finance minister, Chidambaram could have allowed investment of up to Rs 600 crore at his level, but he misused the position and approved FDI of Rs 3,500 crore in the Aircel-Maxis deal. Whereas this amount could be cleared only at the level of the Cabinet committee. It is alleged that Chidambaram gave the green signal to benefit his son Karti.

  1. Chidambaram in INX Media case

Chidambaram is accused of taking a bribe for an illegal sanction from the FIPB in the INX Media case. Here, until yesterday, Chidambaram had been spared arrest more than 20 times, but this time he did not get any relief from the court.

The case dates back to 2007 when Chidambaram was the finance minister in the UPA 2 government. At that time, INX Media group had acquired foreign funds of Rs 305 crore.

  1. Black money

A case of black money is going on against Chidambaram and family. However, in November last year, the Madras High Court revoked the approval of the Income Tax Department to prosecute Chidambaram, his wife Nalini, son Karti and daughter-in-law Srinidhi Karti under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Property) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The matter is currently pending in the Supreme Court.

  1. Manipulation of records to trap Shah

When Chidambaram was the Home Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, he allegedly tampered with an affidavit related to the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. There are allegations of tampering the documents and implicating the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah. The matter is currently pending with the Delhi Police.

  1. Usurping a hotel

There is also a case where Chidambaram used his clout as a Union minister to capture a hotel in the name of one of his relatives in Tamil Nadu. It is alleged that the relative grabbed the hotel with the connivance of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) officials. There is a complaint against Chidambaram in this case too.

  1. Bengal-based chit fund scam

In September 2014, Chidambaram’s wife Nalini drew the attention of the CBI for her alleged involvement in the Saradha chit fund scandal. the Ponzi group head Sudipta Sen had sent an 18-page letter to the CBI. The letter mentioned N Chidambaram’s name. Hence the raid!

Among a litany of allegations made in Sen’s letter, an issue raised was that of the purchase of NE TV. Indian National Congress leader Matang Singh — who was also the coal minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government — and his estranged wife Manoranjana Singh had signed a deal with Sen. N Chidambaram had played the role of a mediator in helping that contract materialise, says the letter.

Categories
India

Chidambaram clinches on cliché: Charges ‘politically motivated’

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former Union Home and Finance Minister P Chidambaram has submitted in his petition in the Supreme Court that the Delhi High Court’s observation that he was the “kingpin” in the INX Media case was completely baseless and that the FIR was “politically motivated and an act of vendetta”. The UPA-era Union minister on Wednesday filed this appeal in the Supreme Cout challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the INX Media case.

“The judge’s observation that the petitioner is the kingpin i.e. the key conspirator, in this case, is completely baseless and supported by no material whatsoever. The judge has ignored the crucial fact that the petitioner simply approved the unanimous recommendation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) which was chaired by Secretary, Economic Affairs and consisted of five other Secretaries to the Government of India,” he said in the petition. Chidambaram said observations of the high court that the magnitude of the case justifies denial of bail is manifestly “illegal and unjust”. Approval was granted for an original investment and the downstream investment. “Both investment proposals were examined and processed in the normal course and placed before the FIPB. It was FIPB which recommended a grant of approval and the Petitioner simply approved the recommendation. None of the FIPB members has been attempted to be arrested,” he said.

Contending that his antecedents are “impeccable”, Chidambaram said he is a sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha and has never been accused of any offence. “There is no possibility of his fleeing from justice. Further, it is the case of the petitioner that despite having cooperated fully with the investigation the object of seeking his arrest is only to humiliate him and injure his reputation,” the plea submitted. He said that INX Media sought approval for Foreign Direct Investment in a proposed TV channel up to 46.216% of the issued equity capital.

“The policy allowed investment up to 74% of the equity. FIPB unit examined the proposal, found it to be in order and submitted the case to the FIPB. FIPB consisted of six secretaries to the Government of India and was chaired by the Secretary, Economic Affairs. FIPB unanimously recommended the proposal and placed it before the Finance Minister for his approval, along with several other proposals. High Court failed to appreciate that in May 2007, the Finance Minister (petitioner) granted the approval in the normal course of official business,” the petition said.

Chidambaram said that the High Court failed to appreciate that ten years later, based on alleged ‘oral source information’, the CBI registered an FIR on 15 May 2017 against four companies, Karti Chidambaram (petitioner), “unknown officers/officials of the Ministry of Finance” and other unknown persons.

“The petitioner was not named as an accused or suspect, there is not even any allegation against the Petitioner in the body of the said FIR. The allegation in the FIR was that INX Media had made (a) down-stream investment without obtaining the prior approval of the FIPB and, in order to regularise that investment, had approached the petitioner’s son and made a payment of Rs 10 lakh (by cheque) to another company allegedly associated with the petitioner’s son. The petitioner has learnt that it is the case of the said company that it received the payment towards consultancy work and further, the petitioner’s son was never a shareholder or director of the said company at any point of time,” Chidambaram said. He said the High Court failed to appreciate that on 21 January, the CBI is learned to have sought sanction to prosecute him and it can, therefore, be inferred that the CBI has concluded its investigation, prepared the draft charge sheet, and is ready to file the same in the trial court, subject to sanction being granted.

“High Court failed to appreciate that while seeking sanction for prosecution, it is necessary to submit a draft charge-sheet to the sanctioning authority. Once the investigation has been completed without (the) arrest of the petitioner, there is no ground for CBI to oppose bail or seek custody,” the plea said.

Chidambaram said he has always cooperated in the investigation, appeared for questioning on 6 June 2018, and was ready to appear for further questioning. “Hence, there was no ground for denying bail at this stage,” he said, adding that the high court failed to appreciate that there is no prima facie case against him.

Chidambaram said the High Court has failed to appreciate that there was no allegation that he has tampered with the evidence or the witnesses. The Congress leader said that there is no material which points to the petitioner or to his involvement in any of the transactions. Chidamabaram said the observation of the high court Judge that the petitioner was evasive during the questioning is “totally baseless and supported by no material whatsoever”.

“The petitioner is (a) law-abiding citizen and has (a) reputation to sustain in the society (sic). He is a sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha. The antecedents of the petitioner are impeccable. He has never been an accused of any offence. There is no possibility of his fleeing from justice. Personal interrogation at the instance of the CBI can certainly be done by securing (the) petitioner’s presence before the concerned authorities on given dates and times, but custodial interrogation is not at all warranted so as to protect (the) petitioner’s fundamental right under Article 14, 19 (1) (d) and 21 of Constitution of India,” the plea read.

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Crime

Chidambaram gets no immediate respite from Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the plea of senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram, accused of seeking a bribe to secure foreign direct investment into INX Media, will be put before the CJI to consider for urgent listing. The urgent listing will not be possible, however, say sources, because of prior commitments of the apex court such as daily hearing for the Ayodhya case. Chidambaram’s plea challenges the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the INX media case.

Justice NV Ramana told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, that the case will be put before CJI Ranjan Gogoi. “I am sending it to the Chief Justice of India. He will pass orders,” the bench told Sibal. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED and CBI, told the bench that it is a case of money laundering of “monumental magnitude”.

At the outset, Sibal told the apex court that Chidambaram’s plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. He said Chidambaram was granted protection from arrest for more than a year in INX cases lodged by the CBI and ED. Sibal said the high court had refused to grant any protection from arrest to Chidambaram to enable him to approach the apex court. “The matter should be heard. I (Chidamabaram) should not be arrested in the meanwhile,” Sibal said.

Sibal told the court that at 2 AM on Wednesday, the probe agencies pasted a notice on Chidambaram’s house that he had to appear before them within two hours. When Sibal said they have got their petition numbered from the Registry, Justice Ramana said, “You finish all formalities”.

In 2018, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) lodged a money laundering case in this regard. After the Delhi High Court refused to give any relief to Chidambaram, teams of the CBI and the ED reached the Jorbagh residence of former Union Minister P. Chidambaram on 21 August to arrest him. Since he wasn’t at his residence, late at night, the CBI pasted a notice on the wall outside P. Chidambaram’s house, asking him to appear before the probe team within two hours of the receipt of summons.

Categories
Crime

Chidambaram, facing imminent arrest, on the run

New Delhi: On Tuesday evening, a team of six officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrived at the house of former Union Minister P Chidambaram. Connected with corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scandal, Chidambaram had plead for an urgent hearing of his anticipatory bail petition to the Delhi High Court. Hours after the Supreme Court turned down the senior Congress leader’s petition, the CBI visited his house. The apex court denied him anticipatory bail once the Delhi High Court rejected it, opening up the possibility of his arrest.

A team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers had arrived at the residence of Chidambaram an hour before the Delhi High Court had dismissed his two anticipatory bail pleas.

Only after Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal discussed with Chidambaram the situation after the Delhi High Court order, the plea seeking a stay on the operation of the order for three days was moved to the Supreme Court. The deliberations in the apex court were also joined by Senior Advocates Salman Khurshid and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s bench will now be taking up the plea on Wednesday.

“P Chidambaram has sought an appeal in Supreme Court tomorrow. His bail was rejected today but what was the urgency for ED and CBI to haunt him tonight,” Anand Sharma said.

As the Delhi High Court turned down his plea, Chidambaram faces imminent arrest. Justice Sunil Gaur, denying him protection from arrest, said that his status as a Member of Parliament and member of legal profession do not affect the decisions taken.

Congress leader Anand Sharma also added, “This is not a criminal trial. What is happening today is not good for democracy.”

On several occasions, Chidambaram has been questioned regarding allegations on his son, Karti, to have received kickbacks in 2007, in exchange for him allowing the television company INX media to receive foreign funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Chidambaram’s counsel, said to a television channel, “Chidambaram was with me till 6.30 PM in my chamber.” No agency has found any trace of him ever since.

Categories
Crime

INX media: Finally a court goes against Chidambaram

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the INX Media scandal.

Justice Sunil Gaur denied relief to Chidambaram. CBI had registered an FIR on 15 May 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

The ED had in 2018 lodged the money laundering case in this regard. There has been a series of exemptions given by the judiciary to Chidambaram and family. This has been witnessed time and again in 2018. Sirf News covered the news of all these interim protections and anticipatory bails as and when they were granted either to the former Union minister or to his son Karti Chidambaram.

In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on 15 May 2017 against alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Finance Minister. In October 2018, the Enforcement Directorate said it had attached assets worth Rs 54 crore of Karti Chidambaram in India, Spain and the UK in connection with a money laundering case related to INX Media, an action termed “bizarre and outlandish” by him.

Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram was also arrested in the matter for allegedly receiving funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case. The other accused in the case include former INX directors Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.

INX Media case explained

ED had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX Media, based on which the CBI had filed its FIR. The CBI had also carried out searches at the homes and offices of Karti Chidambaram across four cities for allegedly receiving money from the media firm owned by the Mukerjeas to scuttle a tax probe. The Chidambaram’s have denied all the charges made against them.

The CBI had filed the FIR against Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants and criminal misconduct. The agency alleged that Karti Chidambaram received money from INX Media for using his influence to manipulate a tax probe against it in a case of violation of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) conditions to receive investment from Mauritius.

The CBI said it had recovered vouchers of Rs 10 lakh which were allegedly paid for the services. These vouchers were issued in favour of Advantage Strategic Consulting (P) Limited, a firm “indirectly” owned by Karti, the CBI had alleged.

Former finance minister Chidambaram, after the CBI searches on 16 May, had issued a strong statement in response to the raids, saying the government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son. The FIPB approval was granted in “hundreds of cases”, the senior Congress leader had said.

The CBI FIR was made out against Karti Chidambaram, his company Chess Management Services, the Mukerjeas (currently in jail on charges of murder of their daughter Sheena Bora), INX Media, Advantage Strategic Consulting Services and its director Padma Vishwanathan.

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India

INX Media: HC grants interim protection to P Chidambaram from arrest till 3 July

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today granted former finance minister P Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till 3 July in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s INX Media corruption case. However, Justice AK Pathak asked Chidambaram to join and cooperate in the questioning session as and when called by the CBI.

The court also sought the investigating agency’s response to the Congress leader’s anticipatory bail plea and listed the matter for further hearing on 3 July.

Meanwhile, former finance minister Chidambaram would not appear before the CBI on Thursday for questioning, officials said. They did not give any immediate reason.

The court also sought the investigating agency’s response to his anticipatory bail plea and listed the matter for further hearing on 3 July. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the anticipatory bail plea, saying  Chidambaram was merely called for questioning.

On Wednesday, Chidambaram had rushed to a trial court for protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case before approaching the Delhi High Court in connection with the INX Media case, in which he has been asked by probe agencies to join the investigation.

Chidambaram’s role has come under the scanner of the investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal of ₹3,500 crore and the INX Media case involving ₹305 crore. It was during his tenure as finance minister in the UPA-I regime that FIPB clearance was granted to the two ventures in which alleged irregularities have been found.

In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on 15 May last year against alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Finance Minister.

Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram was also arrested in the matter for allegedly receiving funds to the tune of ₹10 lakh in the case.

The other accused in the case include former INX directors Indrani and Peter Mukerjea.