5 Sep 2019 8:45 AM GMT
(Updated with order)Special Judge, CBI Court, Rouse Avenue, Delhi, O.P Saini on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in all the four applications in the Aircel Maxis case."In event of arrest, they be released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and one surety of like amount. The accused are directed to join the investigation," the court said. They...
(Updated with order)
Special Judge, CBI Court, Rouse Avenue, Delhi, O.P Saini on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in all the four applications in the Aircel Maxis case.
"In event of arrest, they be released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and one surety of like amount. The accused are directed to join the investigation," the court said. They have been prohibited from traveling abroad.
"Considering the distance of time between commission of the alleged crime and the filing of the instant applications, unexplained delay in investigation, their being no possibility of the applicants/accused tampering with the evidence or threatening any witness or fleeing from justice and there being no possibility also of applicants/accused committing a similar crime again, I am satisfied that it is a fit case for grant of benefit of anticipatory bail", observed judge Saini in the order.
The judge noted that witnesses of the case were from the Department of Telecommunications, and that there was no possibility of them being threatened. Since both of them are Members of Parliament - Chidambaram a Rajya Sabha MP and Karti a Lok Sabha MP - there is no chance of them absconding.
"The allegations against the applicants/accused are not of a grave magnitude as the amount of bribe/laundered money is only Rs 1.13 crores/-, which is paltry amount in comparison to the allegations against Sh.Dayanidhi Maran and others, where the bribe/laundered amount was Rs.749 crore, but he was not arrested", the judge stated.
"An investigating agency should not discriminate against two similarly situated accused, as it is against the law", the Court added.
The court said that both the probe agencies, instead of arguing the matter, were seeking date after date since the filing of the complaint on pretext of further investigation.
In the last hearing on August 23, ASG KM Nataraj had asked for another adjournment which was rejected by the court. In that hearing itself the order was reserved for order which was eventually pronounced today
Both P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram were already enjoying interim protection in Aircel Maxis case since last year owing to consecutive adornments by ED and CBI. Moreover, despite getting the sanction from the Central Government, the cognizance of the chargesheet has also not been taken yet.
The case relates to corruption and money laundering allegations pertaining to the FIPB clearance granted for the foreign investment made by Malaysia based Maxis company in Tamil Nadu based network company Aircel in the year 2006. It is alleged that P Chidambaram, who was the Finance Minister then, had received kickbacks for clearing the Rs 3500 crores Aircel-Maxis deal, and the proceeds were routed through the companies associated with his son Karti.
Both the CBI and Enforcement Directorate have registered cases in relation to the transaction under Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act respectively. The ED filed the complaint on June 13, 2018. CBI had filed chargesheet in July 2018.
Chidambaram is at present under CBI custody in the INX Media case. The Supreme Court today rejected his anticipatory bail application filed in respect of the case lodged by ED in INX case.
Click here to download the order