In a relief to P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court on Friday granted him interim protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media case till August 26. However, the senior Congress leader will remain in CBI custody till Monday.
Deferring the hearing, an SC bench comprising justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna posted both the matters for hearing on Monday, August 26. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the order granting protection to Chidambaram from arrest by the ED. Mehta said Chidambaram could not be arrested by the ED till Monday as he's already in the CBI custody.
"There are evidences in the form of digital documents, email exchanges. Corruption money has traveled through money laundering. He had at least 10 properties and 17 bank accounts abroad, what we have found so far," he said, reported ANI. Meanwhile, Aircel Maxis case, a special court also reserved the order on anticipatory bail plea of P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram till September 3. It has also extended their interim protection till then.
On August 20, Chidambaram had filed two separate petitions, challenging the Delhi High Court verdict in which his anticipatory bail was dismissed.
A special CBI court has ordered former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram to remain in CBI custody till August 26 in connection with the INX Media case. His family and lawyers have been permitted to visit him for 30 minutes every day. The court has also asked the investigating agency to ensure that the personal dignity of the Congress leader is not violated.
The INX Media case
The ED in May 2017 had lodged an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) - a police FIR equivalent - against Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, along with a couple of others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Based on the information provided by the ED, the CBI subsequently filed an FIR against the accused mentioned above, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media in 2007 for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore when Chidambaram was the finance minister.
In March 2007, INX Media had approached Chairman of FIPB, seeking permission for issuing equity shares to three non-resident investors based in Mauritius through the foreign direct investment (FDI) route. This money, according to the FIR, was sought for creating and operating a number of television channels. The application to the FIPB also mentioned its intention to "make a downstream financial investment to the extent of 26 per cent of the issued and outstanding equity share capital of INX News Private Limited".
A few months later, the FIPB board approved INX's proposal, specifically an FDI/NRI inflow of Rs 4.62 crore, but did not approve the proposed downstream investment. So the FIR primarily alleged that "INX Media deliberately and in violations of the conditions and approval" went ahead with the downstream investment and generated FDI exceeding Rs 305 crore in the company "by issuing shares to foreign investors at a premium of more than Rs 800 per share" between August 2007 and May 2008.
Edited by Manoj Sharma