ED issues fresh look out circular against P Chidambaram

PTI

FILE: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Parliament House. PTI

FILE: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Parliament House.
PTI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh lookout circular against former finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media money laundering case, officials said on Wednesday.

They said the alert notice against the Congress leader, whose anticipatory bail was cancelled on Tuesday, has been sent to all land, air and seaports and law enforcement agencies at these facilities. It says the ED should be alerted in case the person is found on their premises.

It also asks them to not allow the Congress leader to cross the Indian border without the permission of the ED.

The officials said this is a preventive measure exercised by the agency as Chidambaram’s whereabouts are not known at present and he is required by them to take the probe forward in the INX Media case, being investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the INX media case will be put before the CJI to consider for urgent listing.

Justice N V Ramana told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, that the case will be put before the CJI.

On Tuesday, hours after the Delhi High Court refused former Union finance minister P Chidambaram to grant any protection from arrest in the INX Media case, the CBI issued a notice to him asking him to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours”, after failing to find him at his residence.

At around 6.30 PM, a team of CBI officers landed at his Jor Bagh residence here to locate him, officials said.

The CBI team left the premises after confirming that Chidambaram was not present at the address, they said.

The team, which had some superintendent of police-rank officials, did not make clear if they had gone to his residence to arrest him for alleged irregularities in foreign investment clearance to INX Media during his tenure as finance minister.

The officials returned to the CBI headquarters where they got into a huddle with senior officers of the agency to decide the future course of action, the officials said.

Team of officials returned to his residence and pasted a notice asking Chidambaram to appear before R Parthasarthy, CBI Deputy SP, who is probing the case to record his statement under Section 161 of the CrPC.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant any protection to Chidambaram from arrest by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

He failed to get an audience from Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday for urgent hearing of his appeal in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.

A team of lawyers led by senior advocate and Chidambaram’s party colleague Kapil Sibal was told by the registrar (judicial) to mention the petition on Wednesday morning in the apex court.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2018.

(PTI)