In fresh trouble to former Union minister P Chidambaram, a Delhi court has “revived” the Aircel-Maxis cases filed by the CBI and the ED against him and his son Karti that were earlier adjourned ‘sine die’. The case was adjourned ‘sine die’ (without fixing any date for hearing) on September 5 last year by the court, which had noted that the two probe agencies were seeking “adjournment after adjournment”.
The court had also granted anticipatory bail to the father-son duo. It has been challenged in the Delhi High Court, which will hear it on March 4. The trial court on its own took up the matter on January 28 and sought the status report by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday. They, however, sought more time and the court granted them two weeks. District judge Sujata Kohli said the allegations mentioned in the charge sheet appear to be “quite serious in nature” and keeping the matter as “adjourned sine die” was not conducive to the interest of justice.
“The earlier order sheets of the predecessor (judge presiding over the matter earlier) clearly showed that he was not inclined to adjourn the matter at all and all the adjournments were being given reluctantly… “I am of the considered opinion that keeping this matter as ‘adjourned sine die’, would not be conducive to the interest of justice and the file is revived/restored to its original number. CBI/ED is directed to file fresh/up to date status report,” the judge said. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the agencies sought time to file the report, which was allowed. The court had on September 6 last year, adjourned sine die the case, noting that the CBI and the ED were seeking “adjournment after adjournment”.
Special Judge O P Saini had adjourned the matter without giving any date for further hearing, saying it would save the time of the court as well as the probe agencies. The court granted liberty to the probe agencies to approach the court and get the case revived as and when they complete the investigation. It had on September 5 granted anticipatory bail to the Chidambarams in the corruption case filed by the CBI as well as in the money laundering matter lodged by the ED in relation to the Aircel-Maxis deal.
The probe agencies are probing how Karti received clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was Union finance minister. The CBI and the ED had alleged that the Congress leader, as finance minister during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, granted approval to the deal beyond his capacity benefitting certain persons, and received kickbacks.