New Delhi: Former Union minister P Chidambaram, an accused in the Aircel-Maxis case, on Tuesday alleged in a Delhi court that the Enforcement Directorate was sensationalising the case and damaging his reputation.
Mr Chidambaram and his son Karti, who have been granted further protection from assert till January 11, made the allegations in their replies to ED’s application seeking time to advance arguments on their anticipatory bail pleas.
ED had claimed that it wanted to place “newly received evidence” in the case before the court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, had moved an application before Special Judge O P Saini, who posted the matter for January 11.
The court also extended the protection from arrest, granted to both the accused till then after senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for father-son duo respectively, made a request for it.
Besides, in the money laundering case being probed by ED, the court extended similar relief to Chidambarams in a related case filed by the CBI, while granting it time till January 11 to get sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute five public servants accused in the case. There are 18 accused in the case.
ED’s special public prosecutor Nites Rana told the court that “new material has been recovered by the agency which needs to be collated in the case”.
In their reply, the father-son duo said, “The accused believes that the subject application has been preferred by ED with the sole intention of delaying the adjudication of accused’s anticipatory bail applications, sensationalise the issue, and causing prejudice to the accused and causing harm and damage to his reputation.”
The CBI had on November 26 told the court that the Centre had granted sanction to prosecute P Chidambaram.
Father-son duo had approached the court through advocates P K Dubey and Arshdeep Singh seeking anticipatory bail, claiming that they were afraid of arrest in both the cases being probed by the ED and the CBI.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in Aircel-Maxis deal and is being probed by the CBI.
In a separate case, the ED is investigating the money laundering aspect of the alleged offence.
The CBI and the ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had alleged that they were not cooperating in investigation.
While Karti had moved anticipatory bail application in March, his father had approached the court in May. They have sought similar relief in the case filed by the CBI.
Their protection from arrest has been extended from time to time.
The agencies have sought the custodial interrogation of both the accused, saying they have not been cooperating and, therefore, making it difficult to complete the investigation in a time-bound manner as directed by the Supreme Court.
The senior Congress leader and his son have come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs. 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs. 305 crore.
In its chargesheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI had alleged that P Chidambaram granted FIPB approval in March 2006 to Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of Maxis.
The Maran brothers and the other accused named in the CBI charge sheet were discharged by the special court, which said the agency had failed to produce any material against them to proceed with the trial.
The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which P Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the agency and currently their anticipatory bail is pending.