CBI got nod to sue, Chidambram got bail extended till 18 Dec

Besides Mr. Chidambaram, sanction is required for the prosection of five public servants.

The sanction required to prosecute former Union Minister P. Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case has been obtained from the authorities concerned, the CBI told a court on November 26.

The court, which further extended the protection from arrest to Mr. Chidambaram and his son Karti till December 18, also granted three weeks to the agency to get sanction against some other people who are accused in the case.

Special Judge O. P. Saini posted the next date of hearing on December 18. There are 18 accused in the case. Besides Mr. Chidambaram, sanction is required for the prosecution of five public servants.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted on behalf of the CBI that “the competent authority in the central government has accorded sanction for prosecution of accused P. Chidambaram under section 197 of CrPC and section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act.”

“Sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants [five] are still awaited,” he said, seeking two more weeks to get the nod.

The CBI said that court’s refusal to grant more time to obtain the sanction for other accused “in a matter pertaining to such a serious offences, may frustrate the cause of justice“.

It further said, “In view of the facts and circumstances stated above, it is most humbly and respectfully prayed that the prosecution sanction received from the competent authority in the central government in respect of accused P. Chidambaram may kindly be taken on record and a further time may be given to file sanction for prosecution in respect of remaining accused public servants.”

Custodial interrogation required

On behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a related money laundering case, Mr. Mehta orally told the court that the accused “misled the agency and made false statement. He suppressed information about the bank accounts in other countries and the money received from various sources.”

“Custodial interrogation is required since various new materials have surfaced after filing of the charge sheet,” the ED, also represented by special public prosecutors N.K. Matta and Nitesh Rana, said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr. Chidambaram, requested the court to extend the protection of the former Union Minister, as well as his son and co-accused Mr. Karti in the both the cases filed by the CBI as well the ED. The father-son duo recently denied the allegations of both the agencies that they were evasive and non-cooperative during the probe in the case, and said the allegations against them were “unsubstantiated” and there was no need of their custodial interrogation.

The submissions were made in their rejoinder, filed by advocates P.K. Dubey and Arshdeep Singh, in response to the replies of the probe agencies. The CBI and ED, in their replies to the anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambarams, had alleged that they were not cooperating in the investigations.

Mr. Chidambaram filed his anticipatory bail application in May this year. His 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 ₹3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving ₹305 crore.

In its charge sheet filed earlier in the case against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others, the CBI alleged that Mr. Chidambaram granted FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) 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 Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Karti have been questioned by the agency and currently their anticipatory bail is pending

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