The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed trial court proceedings in the INX Media money laundering case, Live Law reported. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram, a Lok Sabha MP, are among the accused in the case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had requested the High Court to set aside the trial court’s order asking it to provide copies of the statements and documents collected during the investigation to the accused. The order was passed by Special CBI Judge MK Nagpal in March.
“There is neither any provision in Cr.P.C. [Code of Criminal Procedure] which casts a duty upon the Investigating Agency to forward to court documents on which it does not rely upon nor is there any provision which empowers the Magistrate to allow the accused to inspect the documents which are neither filed in court nor relied upon by the prosecution and that too at the pre-trial stage,” the CBI said in its petition to the Delhi High Court, according to Live Law.
The investigation agency added that the accused cannot claim an “indefeasible right” to each and every document that the police have, according to The Indian Express.
Both the CBI and Enforcement Directorate are conducting an inquiry into the money laundering case.
In March, the trial court had taken note of the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate and said there was sufficient material for further proceedings against Chidambaram, his son and INX Media owner Peter Mukerjea.
The court had summoned P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram on April 7 but later exempted them from appearing in person. The two Congress leaders had sought the exemption on grounds that they were star campaigners in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
The CBI had alleged that there were certain irregularities in the foreign direct investment clearance granted to INX Media by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in 2007, when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.
At that time, the company was owned by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who are in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.
The CBI filed a first information report in the case in 2016. The investigation agency alleged that Karti Chidambaram used his father’s influence to interfere in the clearance process. He allegedly received Rs 10 lakh in kickbacks for that.
In 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram, his son and the directors of INX Media.
P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21, 2019, and taken to Tihar jail on September 5. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in October. In June 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed the CBI’s review petition against Chidambaram’s bail.