Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram moved the Supreme Court seeking protection of his fundamental rights in connection with the Aircel-Maxis and INX media case, PTI reported on Saturday. Chidambaram’s petition follows the Enforcement Directorate’s decision to summon his son Karti to appear before it on March 1 in connection with the case.
The Congress leader, who is also a senior advocate, asked the top court to order the investigating agencies to stop their “illegal” inquiries in the cases as they amounted to harassment of his family and him.
The former finance minister has accused the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate’s searches as part of a “political vendetta” scheme. “The CBI and the ED have made vexatious searches, issued repeated summons, unreasonably questioned persons for unconscionably long hours, unlawfully attached fixed deposits, maliciously leaked false information to the media and otherwise caused extreme harassment, anguish and humiliation to me and my son, and to other persons who are normal business and social friends of my son,” Chidambaram said.
“The writ petition is being filed to defend and protect the petitioner’s fundamental rights under Article 14 (equality before law), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution and to defend his right to privacy and the right to live, along with members of his family, in dignity,” PTI quoted his petition as saying.
The former finance minister said that both he and his son have refuted accusations of violations in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board approvals in these cases. “Every government officer who has been examined by the CBI/ED has categorically stated that the approvals granted in these two cases were entirely in order,” Chidambaram said.
The Congress leader alleged that he was the “real target” of the searches and questioned the investigating agency’s authority to probe the alleged violations against him and his son.
Allegations against Chidambaram
In May 2017, the ED had filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, which includes Indrani and Peter Mukerjea. Chidambaram’s company had allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from the company – which got clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for Rs 4 crore, but had actually received Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007. P Chidambaram was the finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at that time.
The money was reportedly paid to Karti Chidambaram in return for help getting out of the situation without facing any punitive action, the Enforcement Directorate told the court.