Madras High Court dismisses Nalini Chidambaram’s appeal against ED summons

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Chennai | Published: July 10, 2018 6:25:11 PM

The Madras High Court today dismissed an appeal by former union minister P Chidambaram's wife Nalini against a single judge's order rejecting her plea challenging the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in the Saradha chit fund scam case.

Nalini Chidambaram. (PTI)

The Madras High Court today dismissed an appeal by former union minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini against a single judge’s order rejecting her plea challenging the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in the Saradha chit fund scam case. In its order, a bench of justices M M Sundresh and Anand Venkatesh also directed the ED to issue a fresh summons.

In her appeal, Nalini, a senior lawyer, has challenged the April 24 order of Justice S M Subramaniam rejecting her petition against the ED’s summons asking her to appear as a witness in its money laundering probe in the Saradha chit fund scam case.

The bench had reserved orders on the appeal on June 19 and exempted Nalini from appearing before the ED till it delivered the judgement. The ED had issued the first summons on September 7, 2016, asking Nalini to appear before it in its Kolkata office. It subsequently issued a fresh summons after the single judge’s order.

She was allegedly paid a legal fee of Rs 1 crore by the Saradha group for her appearances in court and the Company Law Board over a television channel purchase deal. She had moved the high court challenging the summons on the ground that women cannot be called for investigation out of their place of residence under the CrPC Section 160.

But, Justice Subramaniam had rejected her contention, saying such exemptions were not mandatory and are subject to facts and circumstances of a case, following which she filed the appeal. In the appeal, she contended that if the trend of summoning and calling advocates who have been engaged by their clients for rendering professional services was not nipped in the bud, it may lead to “disastrous consequences”.

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