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A Special Court in Delhi presided by Judge OP Saini today granted anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel Maxis case.
The order passed today states,
“In the end, considering the distance of time between the commission of the alleged offence and filing of the instant applications, unexplained delay in investigation, there being no possibility of the applicant/accused tampering with evidence or threatening any witness or fleeing from justice and there being no possibility also of applicant/accused committing a similar crime and the law quoted above, I am satisfied that this is a fit case for grant of benefit of anticipatory bail.”
The case is bring probed by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
It is prosecution’s case that Chidambaram, who was the Union Finance Minister at the time when the ₹3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis deal went through, and his son Karti received certain kickbacks to ensure FIPB clearance for the said deal.
Calling the probe motivated, P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram had argued for anticipatory bail on the ground that their arrest was not required as they been cooperating with the investigation throughout. It was also argued that the Chidambarams were not a flight risk and would not tamper with evidence. Further, it was contended that there was no requirement for arrest in the case as the investigation stood completed and chargesheet had already been filed by the Investigating Agencies.
The investigating agencies, CBI and ED, on the other hand, had argued that the custodial interrogation of the father-son duo was necessary in the case as the investigation in the case was still ongoing. The agencies apprehended that granting anticipatory bail to the two would adversely affect the investigation.
The Court had reserved its order in the matter last month. While P Chidambaram had moved an anticipatory bail in the Aircel-Maxis case in July last year, his son Karti had preferred the plea in March last year. The father-son duo had been given interim protection from arrest by the CBI as well as the ED due to consecutive adjournments.
In July 2018, CBI had named Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram as accused in its supplementary charge sheet filed in the Aircel Maxis case before the Special Court. In spite of sanction from the Centre, cognisance on the chargesheet is still pending.
All the accused persons in the first charge sheet in the Aircel Maxis case, including former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, were acquitted by a Delhi CBI court in February 2017.
Read the order: