Aircel-Maxis scam: ED moves Delhi High Court challenging bail to P Chidambaram, son
Chidambaram is lodged in jail after being arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday approached the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis case. The plea is likely to be heard on Friday.
The ED has challenged the September 5 order of the special court granting relief to 74-year-old Chidambaram and his son. The former union finance minister is lodged in jail after being arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case.
The trial court had also granted anticipatory bail to the father-son duo in the Aircel Maxis case filed by CBI. Before Chidambaram and his son were made accused in the Aircel Maxis case, a special court had on February 2, 2017 discharged DMK leader and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in the cases filed by the CBI and the ED.
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Later, both the agencies had filed a supplementary charge sheet naming the Chidambarams in the scam. The cases relate to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal when Chidambaram was finance minister.
The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, being the finance minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was empowered to do it. The ED is probing a money laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the Chidambarams have been questioned by the agency.
While granting anticipatory bail to the Chidambarams, the trial court had said the charges against them were not of grave magnitude as the alleged money laundered is a "paltry amount" of Rs 1.13 crore compared to the money purportedly received by accused already discharged in the cases.
It, however, had directed the Chidambarams to join the probe in the cases lodged by the two agencies and said that in the event of arrest, they be released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and one surety of like amount.
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister. Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.
Chidambaram has approached the Supreme Court seeking bail in the INX Media case lodged by CBI after the Delhi High Court on September 30, denied him the relief. He had not filed the bail plea before the trial court.
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