The corrupt former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s tricks to evade arrest in the INX Media bribery case seems to be coming to an end after Friday. The Delhi High Court has reserved for orders on his petition for anticipatory bail. Sensing danger, soon after his son Karti’s arrest on February 28, 2018, Chidambaram obtained Interim Protection from Arrest from the Delhi High Court and has been blocking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the past 10 months with the legal strategies, aided by ace lawyers and his party colleagues Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi.
With CBI and ED reiterating their need to arrest the “evasive and lying” Chidambaram, Justice Sunil Gaur has reserved for Orders, after hearing 10 month-long arguments stretched by the tainted former Minister’s battery of lawyers.
INX Media: An Open and Shut case
INX Media case is an open and shut case. In a nutshell it goes like this: In 2007, the INX Media, then owned by the now jailed-for-murder accused couple Indrani and Peter Mukherjea got a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for just Rs.5 crores. But they illegally accepted Rs.305 crores from foreign firms and were caught by the Income Tax (IT) department. The tax sleuths fined husband and wife and summoned them in 2008. For saving them from IT Department, Indrani and Peter met Karti and Chidambaram and paid a bribe of around Rs.5 crores through Karti’s firms Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited and Chess Management Consulting Private Limited, which were already caught in the Aircel-Maxis Scam bribe money routing. After receiving the bribe by the son, the father swung into action and gave illegal post facto clearance to INX Media and saved them from Income Tax Department’s actions.
The INX Media case is an offshoot of Aircel-Maxis scam probes. ED’s Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh unearthed the INX Media FIPB clearance violations and other similar violations while raiding Karti’s home and companies in December 2015. Rajeshwar Singh seized all computers and hard discs of Karti’s firms and exposed the Chidambaram family’s illegal assets in 14 countries and 21 foreign banks.
Subsequently, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the CBI in INX Media case in May 2017 and Karti was arrested in a surprise move on February 28, 2018. Soon after, Chidambaram rushed to the High Court and obtained Interim Protection from arrest and the case was lagging for 10 months, due to the all-out legal strategies of Chidambaram.
The CBI and ED Friday asserted before the Delhi High Court that custodial interrogation of Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was required in the INX Media case as he was evasive in giving answers during questioning. The two probe agencies contended that Chidambaram, during whose tenure as finance minister FIPB clearance was granted to a media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs.305 crores in 2007, gave wrong answers and did not disclose the material that he should have knowledge of. They said they required his custodial interrogation which will be qualitatively different.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing CBI and ED, vehemently opposed the Congress leader’s anticipatory bail plea and argued that the agencies were seeking to exercise their statutory rights of arresting him, producing before the court concerned and taking him on police remand to interrogate him. “He is evasive and the answers are factually incorrect. I have made a strong case. For ends of justice, he needs to be examined in custody,” he said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said the former minister was called for questioning by the CBI only once in June 2018 and he was not even named as an accused in the FIR.
He further said that apparently there are five accused in the case and four of them — Karti Chidambaram, Bhaskar Raman (Chidambaram’s family Chartered Accountant), Indrani and Peter Mukerjea — are on bail in this case.
ED has already attached Rs.54 crores worth (market value expected to be more than Rs.300 crores) properties of Karti and his firms in New Delhi, Ooty, London and Spain in INX Media case.
Meanwhile, in Aircel-Maxis case, the 2G Court Judge OP Saini has not yet decided on similar protection from arrest given to Chidambaram and son Karti. Many in legal circles are wondering how a trial judge gave such protection, within days of Supreme Court in March 2018 giving stern directions to the CBI and ED to finish the probe in Aircel-Maxis case within six months. Both agencies have already filed charge sheets in this case.
The CBI and ED are expected to file their charge sheets in the INX Media soon, expecting they would get a chance for custodial interrogation of the tainted former Finance Minister Chidambaram. Hope agencies will press into action immediately after the Delhi High Court’s Order, which is reserved on Friday.
 ED attaches Rs.54 crores worth assets of Karti Chidambaram in the INX Media bribery case – Oct 11, 2018, PGurus.com