A Delhi court Thursday granted protection from arrest to former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in Aircel-Maxis cases filed by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, saying that charges against them were not of grave magnitude as the alleged money laundered is a “paltry amount” of Rs. 1.13 crore compared to the money purportedly received by accused already discharged in the cases.
The court, however, directed the Chidambarams to join the probe in the cases lodged by the two agencies and said that in the event of arrest, they are released on a personal bond of Rs. 1 lakh and one surety of like amount.
The court also directed that they would not leave the country without its permission and warned them against committing a similar crime again and also that they would not contact, threaten or influence any witnesses in the cases or tamper with evidence.
The relief in the Aircel-Maxis cases came hours after the Supreme Court gave Mr Chidambaram a setback by dismissing his appeal against the Delhi High Court’s August 20 order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea in the money-laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX-Media case.
Before Mr Chidambaram and his son were made accused in the Aircel-Maxis case, a special court on February 2, 2017, had discharged DMK leader and former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the cases by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
Later, both the agencies had filed a supplementary charge sheet naming the Chidambarams in the case.
It also said that the probe in the Aircel-Maxis cases has been highly belated by both the agencies as almost entire material was in their possession since the beginning.
“The matter is listed for cognisance but the probe agencies instead of arguing are seeking date after date since the filing of the complaint on the pretext that further investigation is still going on.
“This conduct of the agencies speaks for itself and needs no elaboration. The investigation was even otherwise highly belated as almost entire material was in possession of the investigating agencies since the very beginning,” the judge said.
The cases relate to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Rs. 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal when Mr Chidambaram was Finance Minister.
Source – NDTV