INDIA: DELHI HIGH COURT DENIES BAIL TO FORMER FINANCE MINISTER PALLANIAPPAN CHIDAMBARAM in INX Media money laundering case
Pallaniappan Chidambaram is an Indian politician and former attorney who currently serves as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and formerly served as the Union Minister of Finance of India. At present he is facing charges in INX Media, Aircel-Maxis case and is in Tihar Jail.
The Delhi High Court Friday denied bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case.
Justice Suresh Kait had reserved the order on November 8 on the bail petition after hearing the arguments of counsel for Chidambaram and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED had arrested him in the money laundering case on October 16.
He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the CBI case on October 22.
The case was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.
BACKGROUND: INX Media, Aircel-Maxis case
In 2006, political leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy alleged that a company controlled by Karti Chidambaram, the son of Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram, received a five-percent share of Aircel to get part of ₹40 billion paid by Maxis Communications for the 74-percent share of Aircel. According to Swamy, Chidambaram withheld Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance of the deal until his son received the five-percent share in Siva’s company. The issue was raised a number of times in Parliament by the opposition, which demanded Chidambaram’s resignation. Although Chidambaram and the then ruling Congress government denied the allegations, The Pioneer and India Today reported the existence of documents showing that Chidambaram delayed approval of the foreign direct investment proposal by about seven months. It was alleged that Chidambaram’s son, Karti was a direct beneficiary of the 2G spectrum case. His company, Advantage Strategic Consulting had a five per cent stake in Aircel Televentures, even as his father P Chidambaram, as Finance minister, was alleged to have offered FIPB clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal only if his son’s company,Advantage Strategic Consulting, got shares in Aircel Ventures. The Enforcement Directorate is currently investigating his involvement in Aircel deal. In 2012, and, subsequently, in 2016, information of wide scale corruption by Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram and Robert Vadra, with the help of his father’s position, including through the Airtel–Maxis deal and the Uttar Pradesh NRHM scam, was unveiled in prominent newspapers and media in India. Simultaneously, Chidambaram and his son Karti have been dogged with allegations of corruption, misuse of position, insider trading and money laundering.
On 20 August 2019, the Delhi High Court dismissed both anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambaram in connection with corruption charges in the INX Media case during his tenure as Finance minister in UPA Government. On 21 August, he appeared at the Congress HQ and addressed a press conference stating that he was “not accused”; however, he left the place, and, later, he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate at his home. On 5 September 2019, Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against rejection of anticipatory bail plea by Delhi High Court. The Special Court ordered Chidambaram to stay in judicial custody in Tihar Jail for 14 days. He is presently in Tihar Jail.
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