P Chidambaram was not at home when a CBI team visited his house (File)
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's petition for anticipatory bail in the INX Media case. The court's action has opened up the possibility of his arrest in the case. Rejecting his bail request, the judge said," Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case". The agencies probing the case - the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate- visited the senior Congress leader's South Delhi home this evening but left soon as he was not in. Mr Chidambaram has denied any wrongdoing.
Here are the highlights on action against P Chidambaram:
The INX Media Case
The Chidambarams were named in the case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who owned INX Media at the time. The two are currently in jail, accused of being involved in the murder of Indrani Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora.
The CBI registered a case in May 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving foreign funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when P Chidambaram was the finance minister in Manmohan Singh's government.
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard. The two agencies have already questioned Mr Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram. In July 2018, the high court granted Mr Chidambaram interim protection from arrest and it was extended from time to time.
Karti Chidambaram was arrested in the case in 2018 and remained in custody for 23 days. The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs. 54 crore belonging to Karti Chidambaram and a firm in the case.
INX Media Case: The CBI team is still camping at Mr Chidambaram's house.
"You are hereby directed to attend before me within two hours of the receipt of this notice for the purpose of investigation of case," the notice read.
The CBI has stuck a notice outside P Chidambaram's house, asking him to appear before the agency with 2 hours.
The CBI team has against reached P Chidambaram's house in Delhi.
Calling it a "classic case of money laundering", Justice Sunil Gaur, who will retire Thursday, said the court cannot permit the prosecution in this "sensitive case to end up in smoke as it has happened in some other high profile cases".
"Simply because he is a Member of Parliament would not justify grant of pre- arrest bail to him," the judge added.
Mr Chidambaram, who was given interim relief by the court last year when he applied for anticipatory bail, has been "evasive in his replies and has not cooperated with the investigation" since, the judge said.
"Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case," Delhi High Court's Justice Sunil Gaur said. The "magnitude and enormity" of material produced by the investigating agencies "dis-entitles him from any pre-arrest bail," he added.
P Chidambaram's legal team is expected to request for an early hearing.
Mr Chidambaram's legal team, led by Kapil Sibal, is challenging the order in the Supreme Court, sources said.
After the CBI's team left, an Enforcement Directorate team had reached Mr Chidambaram's house.
The former minister has denied any irregularities in the matter, saying he is being targeted by the BJP-led Central government for political reasons.
Mr Chidambaram has been questioned several times in the case, which involves alleged kickbacks received by his son Karti Chidambaram in exchange for allowing INX Media, a television company, to receive foreign funds to the tune of Rs. 305 crore in 2007.
A six-member team from the Central Bureau of Investigation visited his Delhi home this evening, but the former minister was not in.
The court said bail cannot be granted just because Mr Chdambaram is a parliamentarian. "Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case," the judge said.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's request for anticipatory bail was rejected by the Delhi High Court today, opening up the possibility of his arrest in the INX Media case.