P Chidambaram, India’s former Finance Minister (middle) and Pranab Mukherjee, now President of India (right) (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

INX Media Case: Court Extends Chidambaram’s Interim Protection From Arrest

The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s interim protection from arrest to Jan. 15 in the INX Media case. He was seeking anticipatory bail in the case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Justice AK Pathak listed the matter for further hearing in January as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not available today. Chidambaram was represented in the hearing through advocates Pramod Kumar Dubey and Arshdeep Singh.

On July 25, the high court had granted interim protection to Chidambaram from arrest and directed the ED not to take any coercive step till Aug. 1 against him in the money laundering case.

Previously, on May 31, the high court had protected him from arrest in the case lodged by the CBI. On Aug. 1, the court had extended the interim protection to Sep. 28 and further to Oct. 25 in both the cases. This was further extended till Nov. 29.

The court had also directed Chidambaram to cooperate with the investigation in both the cases as and when required.

His role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.

It was during his tenure as finance minister in the UPA-I government that clearances from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board were given to the two ventures.

In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered a first information reporty on May 15 last year, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED had last year lodged the money laundering case in this regard.

A trial court here had also granted protection from arrest till Aug. 7 to Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case in which he and his son Karti were named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI.

Chidambaram's petition had said that though no summons had ever been served on him by the ED in this case, he had an apprehension of arrest in view of the summons issued to him by the CBI, which was investigating the scheduled offence.