Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram seeks anticipatory bail

Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday approached a local court and the Delhi High Court seeking relief from arrest in Aircel-Maxis and INX Media cases probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI.

While a local court prevented the ED from arresting Chidambaram till June 5, the high court will hear his petition seeking anticipatory bail in the INX Media case probed by the CBI on Thursday. The ED had summoned him on Wednesday while the CBI has asked him to appear before investigators on Thursday.

In both the cases, Chidambaram's role as Finance Minister in the UPA-I regime in granting approval by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has come under the scanner. The agencies have claimed "irregularities" in the granting of FIPB approvals and Chidambaram's son Karti was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case in February.

Congress reacted sharply to the summons issued to Chidambaram and said, "with no answers to former Union Minister Chidambaram's hard-hitting questions on the four-year rule of the Modi government, they are now resorting to a political vendetta by harassing him with a baseless summons. We condemn this highly deplorable act."

At first, Chidambaram approached the court of Special Judge O P Saini seeking relief. Judge Saini directed the ED not to take any coercive action or arrest him till June 5 in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal. The court said Chidambaram has undertaken to comply with the summons issued by the ED.

Chidambaram's lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi argued that their client has clean antecedents. They also said all the evidence in the matter appears to be documentary in nature which is already in the possession of the agency and nothing was to be recovered from him.

However, Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana opposed the plea saying he did not join the investigation on Wednesday.

Soon after getting relief in the ED case, his lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the INX Media case. Justice S P Garg recused to hear the matter when it was brought before his bench and later acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal allocated the case for hearing before Justice A K Pathak.

Justice Pathak said he was ready to hear the matter after 3:00 PM but as Sibal expressed his difficulty and both the sides agreed, the court decided to hear the matter on Thursday.

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Aircel-Maxis case: Chidambaram seeks anticipatory bail

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