New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended till January 15 the interim protection from arrest granted to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on his pleas seeking anticipatory bail in the INX Media case lodged by the ED and the CBI.
Justice A K Pathak listed the matter for further hearing in January next year as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not available today. The central government’s standing counsel Amit Mahajan mentioned before the court that the law officer was not available today. Chidambaram was represented in the hearing through advocates Pramod Kumar Dubey and Arshdeep Singh.
On July 25, the high court had granted interim protection to Chidambaram from arrest and directed the ED not to take any coercive step till August 1 against him in the INX Media money laundering case. Prior to that on May 31, the high court had protected him from arrest in the case lodged by CBI.
On August 1, the court had extended the interim protection to September 28 and then to October 25 in both the cases. On October 25, the interim relief was extended till November 29. The court had also directed Chidambaram to cooperate with the investigation in both the cases as and when required.
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-I government that clearances from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) were given to the two ventures.
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15 last year, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, the ED had last year lodged the money laundering case in this regard.
A trial court here 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. Chidambaram’s petition had said that 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.