Former finance minister P Chidambaram, 74, has been produced before a Special Judge in Delhi on a request of the Enforcement Directorate that wants to arrest him in a money laundering case linked to the INX Media case.
Chidambaram was first arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case on 21 August after a dramatic turn of events. Once the CBI was done grilling him, Chidambaram had offered to surrender in the related case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. That request was turned down by the ED and Chidambaram was sent to Tihar jail.
Last week, the ED told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that the agency had recorded the statement of 12 people and was now ready to interrogate him in the INX Media case. Judge Kuhar had ordered the authorities to produce Chidambaram before the court at 3 pm.
The INX Media case pertains to alleged irregularities in clearance by the foreign investment promotion board to the INX Media group for overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. The ED had registered a money laundering case in this regard, accusing the ex-minister of laundering proceeds of crime in this case.
Chidambaram’s formal arrest by the ED for his custodial interrogation comes a day before a bench of the Supreme Court takes up the former home and finance minister’s request for bail in the CBI case. The high court had recently rejected his bail plea, holding that the senior politician could influence witnesses.
Chidambaram’s arrest and ED custody implies that he isn’t going to walk out to his freedom in a hurry, irrespective of which way the top court rules on his bail plea in the CBI case.
Chidamabram has spent nearly 40 days in Tihar jail.
P Chidambaram and son Karti are also fighting off an attempt by the investigating agencies to convince the Delhi High Court to cancel their anticipatory bail granted to them in the Rs 3,500 crore Aircel Maxis scam.
A Delhi court had granted protection from pre-arrest bail to the father-son duo stating that the charges against them were not of grave magnitude as the money allegedly laundered is a “paltry amount” of Rs 1.13 crore compared to the money purportedly received by accused already discharged in the cases. This case would, however, be heard only next month-end when the high court hears the ED’s appeal against the discharge of Dayanidhi Maran.
Oct 14, 2019 15:32 IST