Former Union Minister P Chidambaram (Express photo: Partha Paul)
A Delhi court has revived the Aircel-Maxis case involving senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti, observing that keeping this matter ‘adjourned sine die’ would not be conducive to the interest of justice.
Chidambaram was Finance Minister when Maxis acquired a stake in Aircel. It is alleged that he played a role in getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval for the deal.
Former Special Judge O P Saini had on September 6 court adjourned proceedings sine die, noting that the CBI and the ED were seeking repeated adjournments. Saini had 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 Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the Aircel-Maxis deal.
After District and Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli took over the court vacated by Saini, she found there was zero pendency. When she enquired about it from the court staff, she was informed that her predecessor had adjourned the Aircel-Maxis case investigated by both the CBI and ED, court records show.
The judge then perused the files pertaining to the case and found that “orders in continuity show that after filing of charge sheet, the CBI was seeking adjournments time and again, and in various order sheets it was directed that there shall be no further request for adjournment and that it was to be treated as final opportunity”, court records show.
She then observed, “Since I have gone through the chargesheet, the allegations appear to be quite serious in nature. The earlier order sheets of the Predecessor were clearly showing that he was not inclined to adjourn the matter at all and all the adjournments were being given reluctantly. Thirdly, there is no such concept or term as ‘adjourned sine die’ under the scheme of CrPC.”
Directing the CBI and ED to file a fresh status report, she said, “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.”
The Aircel-Maxis deal, the agencies have said, was worth over Rs 3,500 crore and should have been referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs since the Finance Minister had authority to clear only FDI approvals up to Rs 600 crore through FIPB.
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