No arrest shield for Chidambaram at SC in INX media case, told to come tomorrow
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who rushed to the Supreme Court after the high court rejected his request for pre-arrest bail in the INX media case, will have to wait till tomorrow morning to get the top court’s intervention.
“We have been advised to approach the senior-most judge tomorrow for mentioning the matter,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who led a battery of top lawyers for P Chidambaram, told reporters. The case is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Sibal, who is also a senior lawyer, had requested the top court’s registrar for an early hearing hours after the Delhi High Court turned down the former finance minister’s petitions for anticipatory bail. A subsequent request by Chidambaram’s lawyers to give the senior Congress leader three days to appeal against the decision was also turned down.
The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation, which have been pushing for Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation, are probing how his son Karti Chidambaram managed to get clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in 2007 for the INX media group when his father was the Finance Minister.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media. He was later granted bail. His chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman is also out on bail.
The INX media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 307 crore at a time P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case a year later.
Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukherjea, who co-founded INX Media in 2007, had been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, whose father P Chidambaram was the then finance minister, to get foreign investments and evade punitive measures for not having the necessary approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
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In March 2018, Indrani Mukerjea told the CBI in a statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC that a deal of $1 million was struck between Karti Chidambaram and the Mukerjeas to secure approval from the FIPB in favour of INX Media. Last month, a Delhi court had allowed Indrani Mukerjea, who is a prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, to turn approver in the INX case.