Chidambaram says baseless to call him conspirator

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that the observation by the Delhi High Court defining him as the key conspirator in the INX media case was "baseless".

In his anticipatory bail application filed in the Supreme Court, Chidambaram challenged the High Court order which rejected his anticipatory bail plea in the case.

"(The) Delhi High Court judge observation that the petitioner (Chidambaram) is the kingpin, i.e. the key conspirator in this case, is completely baseless and supported by no material whatsoever."

Earlier on Wednesday, Chidambaram's counsel approached the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing on his anticipatory bail plea.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana on Wednesday refused to grant interim relief from arrest to Chidambaram and referred his matter to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing on his anticipatory bail plea in the INX media case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing how his son Karti Chidambaram managed to get clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in 2007 when his father was the Finance Minister.

Chidambaram, in his bail plea filed in the top court, said that the Delhi High Court judge had ignored the crucial fact that he simply approved the unanimous recommendation of the FIPB which was chaired by the Secretary, Economic Affairs, and consisted of five other Secretaries to the then government.

"The observations of the judge that the magnitude of the case justifies denial of bail is manifestly illegal and unjust. Approval was granted for an original investment and the downstream investment. Both investment proposals were examined and processed in the normal course and placed before the FIPB," the former Minister said.

He said that the High Court failed to appreciate that the FIR was baseless, politically motivated and an act of vendetta against him and his son because he is was a vocal critic of the Modi government and a member of the Rajya Sabha.

"The High Court failed to appreciate that on January 21, 2019, CBI is learned to have sought sanction to prosecute the Petitioner (Chidambaram). It can therefore be inferred that the CBI has concluded its investigation, prepared the draft chargesheet, and is ready to file the same in the trial court, subject to sanction being granted," he said in his plea.

"Once the investigation has been completed without arrest of the petitioner, there is no ground for CBI to oppose bail or seek custody."

He also stressed that the allegations in the case pertain to official acts that were done 11 years ago and all files and documents were in the possession of the investigating agencies and there was nothing to be recovered from him.

The former Minister said that there was no allegation that he was likely to flee justice, likely to influence the witnesses or tamper with the evidence.

In the CBI case, Chidambaram was granted interim protection from arrest the first time on May 31, 2018 and in the ED case on July 25, 2018.

The interim protection from arrest to the former minister was extended time to time and was continued till August 20.

In the FIR filed by the CBI, Chidambaram was summoned only once (June 6, 2018) and he appeared and answered all questions. No summons were issued thereafter.

The ED summoned him on December 19, 2018, January 7 and January 21, 2019 and he appeared and answered all their questions, Chidambaram said in his plea.

--IANS

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