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Delhi High Court today issued notice to former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in the alleged Aircel-Maxis money laundering scam on the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to them by Special Judge on 5th September.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait heard Ld. Solicitor General appearing for ED in the matter before posting it for further hearing on 29th December 2019. The matter has been tagged with Dayanidhi Maran’s hearing.

Court was informed that till date, 17 bank accounts in UK and Singapore and 10 immovable properties in UK have been identified that are linked with the Chidambarams. Material unearthed has been submitted to the court in sealed cover, as public knowledge may hamper the progress of investigation.

It was pointed out that instead of discharging the presumption of offence under Sec 24 of PMLA, Respondents have maliciously claimed to be a victim of political vendetta, thus unnecessarily sensationalizing the instant case.

ED’s petition states that courts have always considered economic offences to be “grave” in nature and exercise caution against grant of anticipatory bail. The said gravity is to be judged not on the scale of ‘punishment provided for it,’ but, ‘by the impact it has on society, economy, financial stability and national interest.’ The alleged offence under Prevention of Money Laundering Act involves abuse and misuse of the highest political office – Finance Minister, for personal gains, and thus the instant case is a class apart and requires different treatment in the matter of anticipatory bail.

It submits that at the stage of anticipatory bail, the only thing required is to see, ‘whether there is a prima facie case against the accused or whether the accused was completely innocent,’ and that the Ld. Special Judge failed to appreciate the same.

The petition contends that Anticipatory Bail, to some extent, intrudes in the sphere of investigation of crime and thus courts must exercise caution while granting the same. Court ignored the material placed on record which should have weighed in the decision.

Further it contends that it is likely that if the impugned order is not set aside, the father-son duo may tamper with evidence and influence witnesses, which are in their personal knowledge and the Enforcement Directorate is still investigating into those aspects like ascertaining role of other key persons, exact source of tainted money, parking of the proceeds of crime etc.

Chidambaram is currently lodged in Tihar jail since he was arrested by the CBI on 21st August in INX Media corruption case.

— India Legal Bureau

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