New Delhi: Congress leader and former Union minister P. Chidambaram cannot be arrested till 10 July in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, which is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a special court in Delhi ruled on Tuesday. A lower court had earlier granted him relief from arrest till 5 June.
Chidambaram, however, must comply with the summons and appear before the agency for questioning, the court said. ED sought more time from the Delhi court to file its reply on Chidambaram’s plea seeking anticipatory bail in the Aircel-Maxis case.
Justice O.P. Saini said the court will hear the bail pleas of Chidambaram and his son Karti on 10 July.
The father-son duo are being investigated by ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly receiving kickbacks after granting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006, when Chidambaram was the finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
The ED has claimed that Aircel Televentures Ltd had paid ₹ 26 lakh to Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL), within a few days of the FIPB approval. Karti Chidambaram controlled ASCPL through S. Bhaskararaman, who was described as a chartered accountant.
The former Union minister and his son have been under the scanner of the CBI and the ED with regard to alleged kickbacks regarding the Aircel-Maxis and INX Media deals. ED has been conducting searches across premises linked to the Chidambarams.
Delhi high court had earlier granted an interim stay on the arrest of the Chidambarams in connection with the INX Media corruption case till 3 July. The court had also said that no coercive action could be taken against Chidambaram till then.
In February, the CBI had arrested Karti from Chennai airport in connection with the INX Media case.