'Key conspirator' remains untraceable for CBI, ED (Lead)

The Central Bureau of Investigation and ED teams came to the former Finance Minister's residence one after the other, but could not meet him as he was not at home. The CBI team reached Chidambaram's residence around 6.30 p.m. and left 10 minutes later as he was not at his residence.

The ED team then arrived at the senior Congress leader's residence around 7.30 p.m. Hours later, the investigating agencies remained clueless about the whereabouts of the former Finance Minister.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Chidambaram. Fearing arrest, Chidambaram then moved the Supreme Court for urgent hearing seeking protection from arrest.

The High Court said facts prima facie reveal that he is the kingpin, the key conspirator, in the case. The High Court observed that the magnitude and enormity of material brought forth by investigating agencies clearly does not entitle him any pre-arrest bail.

The CBI is investigating Chidambaram in the INX Media case, which it had registered on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as Finance Minister.

The ED is probing the money laundering case which it lodged in 2018.

The Congress has described the government's action against its leader as political vendetta and accused it of maintaining double standard over the issue of corruption.

--IANS

aks/prs

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