Tightening the screws on tainted former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) approached the Delhi High Court (HC) Thursday seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to the father and son by trial court Judge O P Saini in the Aircel-Maxis case. Just before his retirement, the controversial judge had given anticipatory bail to Chidambaram and Karti in September. Saini was holding the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED from arresting the father and son for more than a year by giving more than 15 interim protections in the Aircel-Maxis case.
The ED’s petition is listed for hearing before Delhi High Court’s Justice Suresh Kait on Friday. The ED contended that the pre-arrest bail in a case of the economic offense was unwarranted and urged the high court to set aside the trial court’s order granting relief to the Chidambarams and cancel their anticipatory bail. The CBI is also expected to challenge the anticipatory bail given by retired trial Judge Saini soon in the High Court in the Aircel-Maxis case.
CBI and ED had already filed a charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case, which is part of the 2G Scam related cases
ED in its petition said that Chidambaram and son remained evasive during the investigation and there is a likelihood that they could tamper with the evidence and influence witnesses. The probe agency said the trial court failed to appreciate that custodial interrogation of the accused was required and its’ finding that the offense was not grave enough was completely perverse and untenable in law. It said the position of Chidambaram and his son that they are members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha cannot be a legally tenable ground to grant them anticipatory bail.
CBI and ED had already filed a charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case, which is part of the 2G Scam related cases. The agencies in mid-2018 told the trial court that they need custodial interrogation of father and son in the wake of new evidence of money laundering and parking of bribe money details.
What is the Aircel-Maxis case?
As Finance Minister in 2006, Chidambaram was empowered only to grand foreign investment up to Rs.600 crores worth approvals by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The applications above that amount required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The Malaysian telecom company Maxis filed an application to invest around Rs.3600 crores in the Chennai-based telecom firm Aircel. Chidambaram, who headed the FIPB, gave approval without sending the file to the CCEA and a money trail of around Rs.2 crores was found in his son-controlled firms for this illegal clearance. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that the actual money came was more than Rs.4800 crores from Malaysia! The Aircel-Maxis scam was exposed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in April 2012 and later on his petition in Supreme Court’s 2G Bench resulted in ordering the CBI and ED to finish the probe in six months, by October 2017.
The ED and Income Tax joint raid led by ED’s Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh at Chidambaram’s home and Karti’s firm in December 2015 lead to the expose of the family’s illegal assets in 14 countries and 21 undeclared foreign banks. PGurus reported this in detail in an article titled as Chidambara Rahasya.
During the raid, the ED had unearthed the INX Media bribery case which has now led to the jailing of Chidambaram from August 21. On October 15, the Supreme Court is expected to hear the bail application of the corrupt former Finance Minister who is now cooling his heels in Tihar Jail for more than a month.
 Chidambara Rahasya – Details of huge secret assets and bank accounts of the Chidambaram family – Mar 15, 2017, PGurus.com
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