Aircel-Maxis case: Court extends protection from arrest to Chidambaram, son till Nov 26

A Delhi court on Thursday extended till November 26 protection from arrest to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case filed by the CBI and the ED.

The Enforcement Directorate filed a reply to Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail in the case on Wednesday, maintaining that his custodial interrogation was necessary as he was evasive and non cooperative in the probe.

On Thursday, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, submitted that they will argue on the anticipatory bail application and also respond to the ED’s reply.

Taking note of Chidambaram’s submission, Special Judge O P Saini extended till November 26 the protection from arrest granted to him.

Chidambaram filed his anticipatory bail application in May this year. His protection from arrest has been extended from time to time.

“We have to meet a deadline and he (Chidambaram) is not cooperating,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI and the ED, told the court.

“From the conduct of the petitioner, which gets amply demonstrated from the records available, the investigating agency has reached a bona fide conclusion that in the absence of custodial interrogation, it will not be possible to reach the truth of the allegations as the petitioner has chosen to be evasive and non-cooperative,” the ED said on Wednesday.

It sought Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation, saying he has not been cooperating with it in the probe and therefore making it difficult to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner as directed by the Supreme Court.

The senior Congress leader’s role has come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.

In its charge sheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI alleged that Chidambaram granted FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.

The Maran brothers and the other accused named in the CBI charge sheet were discharged by the special court, which said the agency had failed to produce any material against them to proceed with the trial.

The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the agency.

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