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Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

INX Media case: P Chidambaram is likely to be arrested

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812860-chidambaram-homeNEW DELHI : Former finance minister P Chidambaram was denied protection from arrest today in the INX Media case with a Delhi High Court judge saying “the facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, the key conspirator.
Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail was turned down today by the Delhi High Court, opening up the possibility of his arrest in the INX Media case. Investigators say he facilitated a mammoth foreign funding for the television company in 2007, at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram, who accepted kickbacks.
P Chidambaram is not present at his residence, sources told The Congress leader did not come back home after SC rejected the urgent hearing plea. A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers arrives at the residence of P Chidambaram.  A team of CBI and ED officials reached P Chidambaram’s Delhi residence on Tuesday evening but returned after failing to find the former finance minister.
The senior Congress had moved the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case.  Chidambaram is likely to be arrested in the case.
“Preposterous to say prosecution of Chidambaram is baseless, politically motivated and act of vendetta,” said the Delhi High Court during hearing on the Congress leader’s bail plea. “It is a classic case of money laundering.
The twin factors which have weighed to deny pre arrest bail to Petitioner are gravity of offense and evasive replies of the Petitioner to questions put to him while he was under protective cover.

Gravity of offence committed in this case justify denial of pre arrest bail.” The team of CBI officers has left from Chidambaram’s residence. On May 15, 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR in the case alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram`s tenure as the finance minister.
Karti Chidambaram has also been probed by the CBI for allegedly taking money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007.including Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.
Justice Sunil Gaur, who is set to retire within 48 hours — on Friday — called it a “classic case of money laundering” and said granting bail would send a wrong message to the society. Mr Chidambaram, who was Finance Minister during the Congress-led UPA rule, has interim protection from arrest from the High Court.
The court said prima facie, there’s evidence that the former minister is the “kingpin” and blocking the investigative agencies will send a “wrong message”. Mr Chidambaram’s legal team, led by Kapil Sibal, is challenging the High Court order in the Supreme Court and are expected to request for an early hearing tomorrow, sources said.

“Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case,” Delhi High Court’s Justice Sunil Gaur said. The “magnitude and enormity” of material produced by the investigating agencies “dis-entitles him from any pre-arrest bail,” he added.
Mr Chidambaram, who was given interim relief by the court last year when he applied for anticipatory bail, has been “evasive in his replies and has not cooperated with the investigation” since, the judge said. “Simply because he is a Member of Parliament would not justify grant of pre- arrest bail to him,” he added

Calling it a “classic case of money laundering”, Justice Sunil Gaur, who will retire Thursday, said the court cannot permit the prosecution in this “sensitive case to end up in smoke as it has happened in some other high profile cases”.
The Chidambarams were named in the case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who owned INX Media at the time. The two are currently in jail, accused of being involved in the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard. The two agencies have already questioned Mr Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested in the case in 2018 and remained in custody for 23 days. The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs. 54 crore belonging to Karti Chidambaram and a firm in the case.
The Chidambarams have also come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs. 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal, which involves a clearance of $800 million foreign investment granted to the company in 2006 allegedly in exchange of kickbacks. While the approval was expected to come from a committee headed by the Prime Minister, it illegally came from the finance ministry, the CBI said.(With Agency Inputs ).


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