New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday requested a Delhi court to reject the anticipatory bail plea of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case and pressed for his custodial interrogation.
The ED submission came in a reply to Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea. The ED filed the reply before Special Judge O.P. Saini who is scheduled to hear the plea on November 1.
On October 8, the court had extended interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram and his son Karti till November 1 in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
Citing various top court judgements, the ED pressed for custodial interrogation of the former Minister.
Stating that the former Minister is an influential person, the agency told the court: "A blanket order fully insulating a person from arrest would make his interrogation a mere ritual."
The agency also told the court that Chidambaram has not cooperated in investigation. It said: "...therefore, grant of anticipatory bail at this stage would be highly detrimental for the investigation process."
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.
The ED said the investigation pertaining to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted fraudulently by Chidambaram has to some extent been concluded, while with regard to certain issues it is still going on.
The ED on October 25 filed a charge-sheet in the case naming Chidambaram and a few others.
The CBI on July 19 filed a chargesheet against 18 persons in the case, including the former Finance Minister and Karti.
On August 29, 2014, the CBI had filed a charge-sheet in the case alleging that between July 2004 and September 2008, Dayanidhi Maran, as Minister in the UPA-I government, used his influence to help Malaysian businessman T.A. Ananda Krishnan buy Aircel by coercing its owner Sivasankaran to part with his stake.
Sivasankaran alleged that Maran favoured the Krishnan-owned Maxis Group in the takeover of his company. In return, he alleged, Maxis made investments through Astro Network, a sister concern, in Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (SDTPL), stated to be owned by the Maran family.
However, a special court had dropped charges against Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others in the alleged kickback of Rs 742 crore in the Aircel-Maxis deal, saying that the "perception or suspicion" was not backed by concrete evidence.