A Delhi court on Monday granted former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram interim protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case, PTI reported. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, requested an extension saying the agencies needed more time to complete the inquiry.
“We want to interrogate both the accused in the custody after receiving the Letters Rogatory,” Mehta was quoted as saying. “They are fully protected by judicial order. Karti keeps filing applications to travel abroad to play tennis and he does not want to cooperate in the investigation. He is enjoying life.”
However, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsels for the Chidambarams, claimed that the ongoing case has not been “fair on the part of prosecution”. “We are deeply prejudiced and we are in public life. We are entitled to bail. Every time the same prayer is made. We get no chance to reply. The CBI has not interrogated since 2014, only once. Is this fair on the part of prosecution?” Mint quoted Sibal as saying.
The case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted the firm Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel in 2006. Chidambaram was the finance minister at the time and Karti Chidambaram allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the Aircel-Maxis transaction. The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating a money laundering angle in the case, is inquiring why Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give green signal for such deals.
In November 2018, the Central Bureau of Investigation had informed a court in Delhi that the central government has sanctioned the prosecution of P Chidambaram in the case.