Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea hearing tomorrow

By Mohammed Rayaan Published on Jul 24, 2018 04:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Union minister P Chidambaram’s plea is to be heard by the Delhi High Court tommorrow. He is seeking anticipatory bail in the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) money-laundering case related to INX Media. When the matter came up before Justice A K Pathak today, the ED's counsel said it should be heard later in the day as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was busy in the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said he will not be available post-lunch and the court may list the matter for tomorrow. He also urged the court to pick the matter for 10.30 am tomorrow.

However, the judge said it will come up in due course. The senior counsel said this matter was from the same transaction on which the CBI had also registered the case. The only difference was that this petition relates to ED's case while the other one, in which Chidambaram has already got protection from arrest, was of CBI. Chidambaram had yesterday approached the high court seeking anticipatory bail in ED's money laundering case related to INX Media. The petition was filed through advocates Pramod Kumar Dubey and Arshdeep Singh.

Though no summons have ever been served to the former Union finance minister by the ED in this case, he has an apprehension of arrest in view of the summons issued to him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the scheduled offence, it said. It said the ED has also opposed his anticipatory bail plea in another case relating to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in relation to the Aircel-Maxis case and "it cannot be ruled out that the ED may also summon him and/or illegally arrest him even without issuing summons".

The plea claimed that 72-year-old Chidambaram apprehends arrest because of the circumstances under which the ED has arrested chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman in the case and the CBI had arrested his son Karti Chidambaram. A trial court here had yesterday granted protection from arrest till August 7 to Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case in which he and his son Karti Chidambaram were named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI recently. The senior Congress leader's role had come under the scanner of the 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 the finance minister in the UPA-1 government that clearances from the FIPB were given to the two ventures, in which alleged irregularities have been found. In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15 last year, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance 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.