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Aircel-Maxis case: HC seeks response of P Chidambaram on ED's plea

Aircel-Maxis case: HC seeks response of P Chidambaram on EDP Chidambaram
Highlights

The Delhi High Court Friday asked former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti to file reply on the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging the anticipatory bail granted to them in the Aircel-Maxis case.

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Friday asked former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti to file reply on the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging the anticipatory bail granted to them in the Aircel-Maxis case. Justice Suresh Kait issued notice to Chidambaram and Karti on the probe agency's petition seeking cancellation of their anticipatory bail.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on November 29 along with the CBI and the ED pleas challenging the trial court's order discharging former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others in the same case.

Before Chidambaram and his son were made accused in the Aircel Maxis case, a special court had on February 2, 2017 discharged DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the matter.

The ED and the CBI later filed supplementary charge sheets naming the Chidambarams in the scam. The 74-year-old Congress leader is lodged in Tihar Jail after being arrested by the CBI in the INX Media corruption case. There was no counsel present in the court to represent the Chidambarams in the case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, said the special judge pronounced its order granting anticipatory bail to the Chidambarams on September 5 without considering the Supreme Court's order which had come on the same day in the INX Media case.

"After the Supreme Court's order, we immediately approached the trial court requesting to defer the order on anticipatory bail. However, the special judge said he has already signed the order and will pronounce it at 2 PM," he submitted.

The probe agency said the trial court failed to appreciate that custodial interrogation of the accused was required and its finding the offence not grave enough was completely perverse and untenable in law.

Mehta referred to the trial court's order that the allegations against Chidambarams are also not of grave magnitude as the alleged money laundered is about Rs 1.13 crore which is paltry amount in comparison to allegations against Dayanidhi Maran and others, where the bribe amount was Rs 749 crore, but he (Dayanidhi) was not arrested.

He said, "The then government chose not to arrest Dayanidhi Maran. But, we are pursuing the case in the high court and have challenged the order discharging him in the case." He contended that in the Aircel-Maxis case, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) the approval sought was for Rs 3,500-crore which was beyond the jurisdiction of the finance minister, still it was approved by Chidambaram.

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