A special court in New Delhi on Thursday granted former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram anticipatory bail in both cases filed against them in the Aircel-Maxis matter, ANI reported. The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate had filed separate cases in the matter.
The court said that if the two leaders are arrested, they can be released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of a like amount, PTI reported. The court also asked them to join the investigation.
Earlier in the day, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had asked the court to defer its order, which was scheduled for 2 pm, PTI reported. However, the court declined the pleas.
Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the CBI, requested special judge OP Saini to consider the Supreme Court verdict rejecting P Chidambaram’s bail plea in another case. However, the court said both the agencies were seeking date after date since the filing of the complaint on the pretext of further investigation. It said there has been a delay in the inquiry as the agencies have all evidence with themselves.
The court added that there was no possibility of the Chidambarams committing a similar crime since they are not in the government now. It also said that the charges against the father-son duo were not grave as the amount allegedly laundered was only Rs 1.13 crore.
Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court had rejected P Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media case registered by the Enforcement Directorate. A bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna said it was not a fit case for anticipatory bail as it could hamper investigation. P Chidambaram had moved the Supreme Court after the plea was rejected by the Delhi High Court on August 20.
The Congress leader is presently in CBI custody in relation with the case.
The Aircel-Maxis case pertains to clearances that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board granted to the firm Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in telecom company Aircel in 2006. P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister at the time and Karti Chidambaram, who is a parliamentarian at present, allegedly facilitated the payment of bribes in the Aircel-Maxis transaction. The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating a money laundering angle, is inquiring why Chidambaram approved the investment when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs can give green signal for such deals.
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