Chidambaram to seek anticipatory bail in INX media case on Thursday

Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday moved a trial court and the Delhi high court seeking anticipatory bail after both the ED and the CBI summoned him in connection with the Aircel-Maxis and INX Media cases respectively.

Chidambaram was issued notices to appear before both investigative agencies to join the probe after his role came under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). His name appeared in the Rs 3,500 crore Aircel-Maxis case and the Rs 3,05 Crore INX Media case.

Apprehending his arrest in both cases, Chidambaram first moved the Patiala House court in the Aircel-Maxis case where special judge OP Saini granted him immunity from arrest till June 5 when the matter would be heard.

In his plea seeking protection from arrest, 72-year-old Chidambaram, said that the summons are “mala fide and with the sole intent of enabling the Central Government to pursue a politically motivated vendetta”.

Appearing for the former minister, senior advocates and Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, submitted that their client is ready and willing to join the investigation as and when called by the officers of ED, provided he is granted interim protection.

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The battery of lawyers then reached Delhi high court seeking anticipatory bail in the INX media case where Chidambaram’s role is under scanner for granting FIPB approval to two companies in which alleged irregularities have been found.

The hearing, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday, witnessed drama as Justice SP Garg, recused himself from the hearing. The matter was then listed for proceedings before Justice A K Pathak , who said that he would hear the case at 3pm.

But finding it difficult to wait till then, counsels for both the sides, jointly requested for an adjournment. The matter will now be heard at 10.30am on Thursday, half an hour before Chidambaram has to appear before the CBI . In his plea filed in the HC, Chidambaram said he was summoned despite him not being mentioned as an accused or a suspect. He said that he feared arrest because of the circumstances under which his son was arrested earlier this year.

While Chidambaram refused to comment on the matter, Congress spokesman RPN Singh accused the BJP-led NDA government of “indulging in political vendetta to target” its political rivals.

However, Anil Baluni, Rajya Sabha member and head of BJP’s media cell, said, “The law is taking its own course in the matter. His pleas show his desperation fearing the inevitable.”