The case of money laundering against former finance minister P Chidambaram escalated on Tuesday after the Delhi High Court labelled the Congress leader as the "prima facie kingpin" in the INX Media corruption case and refused to grant him protection from arrest. The CBI, who is investigating the case along with the Enforcement Directorate, issued a notice asking him to appear before the investigation officer on Tuesday evening, after the Delhi High Court's order.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said Chidambaram's plea challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the case will be put before the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to consider for urgent listing. Justice NV Ramana told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, that the case will be put before the CJI.
Several Congress leaders came to Chidambaram's defence on Wednesday. Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said that "extremely qualified and respected member of the Rajya Sabha", Chidambaram was being "shamefully hunted down" by the Centre because he was "unhesitating" in exposing the failures of the Narendra Modi-led government.
"...the truth is inconvenient to cowards so he is being shamefully hunted down. We stand by him and will continue to fight for the truth no matter what the consequences are," she tweeted. Senior advocate Salman Khurshid terms the CBI's action against Chidambaram as "extremely unfair", while party leader Digvijaya Singh called the developments as "political vendetta".
What is the INX Media case?
The INX Media corruption case refers to the alleged discrepancies in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the media group owned by Indrani Mukerjea, who is currently in custody in a murder case, and her husband Peter Mukherjea.
The irregularities were to do with the media group "receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 307 crore at a time when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister".
Here is a timeline of the INX Media case:
The CBI registered an FIR on 15 May, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.
16 June: The Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) and the Bureau of Immigration, under the Union Home Ministry, issues a look-out circular (LOC) against Karti.
10 August: Madras High Court stays the LOCs issued against Karti and four others.
14 August: Supreme Court stays Madras High Court order staying Centre's LOC issued against Karti.
18 August: Supreme Court asks Karti to appear before the CBI on 23 August.
22 September: CBI tells the apex court that Karti was prevented from travelling abroad as he was allegedly closing several of his foreign bank accounts.
8 December: Karti moves Supreme Court challenging summons issued by the CBI in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
31 January: The Supreme Court remands back to Madras High Court the pleas relating to the issuance of LOCs against Karti and others.
16 February: Karti's CA S Bhaskararaman arrested for allegedly assisting him to manage his "ill-gotten wealth" in India and abroad.
28 February: Karti is arrested by the CBI at the Chennai airport and brought to Delhi. Delhi court sends him to one-day police custody.
1 March: Karti sent to five-day CBI custody.
5 March: Karti moves Supreme Court against the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case.
6 March: Special court remands him to three-day CBI custody. His plea for bail in CBI case adjourned to 9 March.
9 March: Special court sends him to three more days of police custody in the CBI case.
12 March: Special court sends Karti to 12-days judicial custody till 24 March. Declines his plea for early hearing of his bail plea. Subsequently, on the same day, he moves Delhi High Court seeking bail in the corruption case.
13 March: Delhi High Court seeks the CBI's response on his bail plea. Bhaskararaman granted bail in the corruption case by the special court.
16 March: Delhi High Court reserves order on Karti's bail plea in INX Media corruption case.
23 March: Delhi High Court grants bail to Karti in the INX Media corruption case.
25 July: P Chidambaram was given interim protection from arrest by the Delhi High Court.
11 October: Karti's properties in India, Spain, and the UK worth Rs 54 crores attached by ED in connection with the INX Media money laundering case, an action termed "bizarre" by him.
1 November: Supreme Court rejects urgent hearing on Karti plea for travelling abroad.
22 February: CBI gets Centre's clearance to press charges against P Chidambaram
29 May: The Supreme Court rejects Karti's plea for the return of Rs 10 crore
11 July: Jailed-media baron Indrani Mukerjea accepts the conditions of a judge and turns approver in the case.
1 August: Karti asked to vacate Jor Bagh house in New Delhi by the ED, who had attached in earlier.
20 August: Delhi High Court rejects bail applications of P Chidambaram, former finance minister meets Sibal to discuss future course of action.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 21, 2019 12:33:20 IST