Delhi HC mentions another case facts in Chidambaram bail order

The facts of another case have found mention in the Delhi High Court order denying bail to former union finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money-laundering case.

In his 41-page verdict on November 15, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait of the high court reproduced some paragraphs from a 2017 Supreme Court order rejecting bail to Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon in a money-laundering case.

The judge also referred to a previous 2017 order of the high court in the case of Rohit Tandon versus Enforcement Directorate in which it was observed that “there is a provision of trial by a special courts in case of ‘schedule offences’ under PMLA. Possibility of joint trial would arise under Section 44 of PMLA only when charge-sheet is filed upon completion of investigation and the case is committed to the Special Court.

“Section 44 does not talk of Joint investigation or joint trial. It makes it mandatory that the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Act and any scheduled offence connected to the offence under that section shall be triable only by Special Court constituted for the area in which the offence has been committed.”

The high court, in its November 15 order dismissing bail plea of Chidambaram, mentioned the facts of Tandon’s case that “it is alleged that during the period from November 15, 2016 to November 19, 2016 huge cash to the tune of Rs. 31.75 crores was deposited in eight bank accounts in Kotak Mahindra Bank in the accounts of ‘group of companies’.”

The order says the prosecution in that case has given details of demand draft issued from November 15, 2016 to November 19, 2016 from eight bank accounts in the name of Sunil Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Abhilasha Dubey, Madan Kumar, Madan Saini, Satya Narain Dagdi and Seema Bai on various dates. Most of the Demand Drafts issued have since been recovered.

“The statements recorded during investigation have evidentiary value under Section 50 PMLA. Prima facie, the version given by them is in consonance with the prosecution case. The prosecution has further relied upon call data records, CCTV footage. Account Trend Analysis, the high court order notes.

It added, “The stated activity allegedly indulged into by the accused named in the commission of predicate offence is replete with mens rea. In that, the concealment, possession, acquisition or use of the property by projecting or claiming it as untainted property and converting the same by bank drafts, would certainly come within the sweep of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence. That would come within the meaning of Section 3 and punishable under Section 4 of the Act.”

Some lawyers, who are aware of the facts of Chidambaram’s case, on the condition of anonymity, said certain paragraphs in the November 15 order of the high court are similar to those of high court’s May 5, 2017 and Supreme Court’s November 2017 orders on Tandon’s bail.

Tandon, who was arrested in 2016, is an accused in the demonetisation-related money laundering case.

In the INX Media money-laundering case, the ED had arrested 74-year-old Chidambaram on October 16.

He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case and was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the CBI case on October 22.

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

Thereafter, the ED had lodged a money-laundering case in this regard in 2017.

Delhi Court adjourns Aircel-Maxis case against P Chidambaram sine die

 A Delhi court on Friday adjourned Aircel-Maxis case, involving former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti, sine die, noting that the CBI and the ED were seeking repeated adjournments.

Special Judge O P Saini adjourned the matter without giving any date for further hearing, saying that the prosecution may approach the court as and when the probe is complete.

The court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to 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.

The matter was listed for arguments on the cognizance of chargesheet in the case.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, appearing for the CBI and the ED respectively, sought adjournment on the ground that response to Letters Rogatory (LRs) were awaited.

The agencies requested the court to adjourn the matter for first week in October.

“Prosecution seeking date after dates. Matter deferred sine die. Prosecution asked to approach the Court as and when the investigation is complete and as and when they receive Letters Rogatory (LRs) from various countries,” the court said.

CBI and the ED are probing how Karti Chidambaram received clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was Union finance minister.

CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had alleged that the Congress leader, as finance minister during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, granted approval to the deal beyond his capacity benefitting certain persons, and received kickbacks.

Aviation Scam Case: Enforcement Directorate summons P Chidambaram in money-laundering case

The ED has summoned former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in connection with its money-laundering probe in an alleged aviation scam during the UPA dispensation, officials said.

They said the senior Congress leader has been asked to depose on Aug 23 before the investigating officer of the case at an Enforcement Directorate office here to record his statement.

The case pertains to losses suffered by Air India due to an alleged multi-crore aviation scam and irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines.

Former Aviation Minister Praful Patel was previously grilled by the ED and it is understood that the agency now wants to question Chidambaram on their leads in this case.

The Congress leader is also being probed by ED in two separate money laundering cases of Aircel-Maxis and INX Media.

Bombay High Court summons P Chidambaram, 2 IAS officers in Rs 10,000 crore damage suit by 63 moons

The Bombay High Court has summoned former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and top serving bureaucrats, K.P. Krishnan and Ramesh Abhishek, in connection with Rs 10,000 crore damage suits filed by 63 moons technologies, formerly known as Financial Technologies Ltd (FTIL), and their role in engineering the NSEL payment default crisis.
The Bombay High Court has asked the three to remain present in the court on October 15.
“You are hereby required to file in this Hon’ble Court an appearance in person and a written statement for your defence and serve a copy of the written statement on the plaintiff within 12 weeks from the service of this summons on you,” said the Bombay High Court order, dated July 24.

63 moons filed a Rs 10,000 crore damage suit against Chidambaram, Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development, and Ramesh Abhishek, then Chairman of Forward Market Commission (FMC), and now the outgoing Secretary, Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion (DPIIT), stating that the company has been facing continuous targeted and mala fide actions in the wake of an engineered payment default crisis at one of its subsidiaries, the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).
According to the lawsuits, there is no money trail traced to NSEL, 63 moons and its founder Jignesh Shah by multiple investigative agencies. However, the group has been singularly targeted as part of a conspiracy by Chidambaram, Krishnan and Abhishek who wanted to protect the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in which they had vested interests. These malicious actions perpetrated against 63 moons caused a damage of Rs 10,000 crore to its shareholders.
During his presentation to the media on the NSEL saga in February this year, 63 moons mentor Jignesh Shah had said Abhishek, as FMC Chairman, played a proactive role in perpetrating the NSEL crisis, destroying the exchange eco-system created by 63 moons to favour NSE, resulting in a huge damage to the shareholders of 63 moons, loss of employment and incomes in the economy.

As a result, 63 moons had filed the damage suits of Rs 10,000 crore against Chidambaram, Krishnan and Abhishek, in their individual capacities for taking mala fide actions against it by abusing their powers. Notably, the company has also filed criminal complaints against these three individuals with the CBI along with supporting material.
The legal filings noted that the sequence of events and the evidence that surfaced so far also showed that the then Finance Minister Chidambaram and Krishnan played a dubious role in destroying the ecosystem created by 63 moons technologies to favour the competitor NSE.

“A case in point is the note of K. P. Krishnan approved by P. Chidambaram forcing other co-promoters of NCDEX to sell their stake to make NSE a lead promoter clearly revealing their mala fide interference in the competition within the exchange industry. This hounding of 63 moons technologies group has not only caused serious loss to its investors but has done irreversible damage to the entire exchange eco-system, the existing jobs and creation of new jobs,” it added.
In his media briefing early this year, 63 moons Chairman Venkat Chary had pointed out that the FMC was aware of the role of certain big brokers and HNI traders. However, it acted in a partisan manner only against the NSEL and its parent, 63 moons.
For example, the FMC was mandated under the law to communicate information relating to illegal forward trading to police authorities. However, no such information was forwarded by the FMC against the brokers and the traders. Thus, there was a clear dereliction of duty and misuse of official position on the part of the then FMC chairman, Abhishek, in selectively targeting the parent company of NSEL, despite no money trail to them.

Jignesh Shah has said it was not a crisis but a conspiracy to decimate the FTIL Group. The Rs 5,600 crore payment crisis at NSEL came into light in July 2013.