New Delhi, Aug 22, 2019 : Troubles mounted for former Union minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday after the Delhi High Court refused to give him protection from arrest in INX Media case. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) made rounds of his New Delhi residence to "question" Chidambaram in connection with the case, IndiaToday reported.
The INX Media case relates to investment of foreign funds in the company to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007. This investment was done in violation of the conditions set by the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB).
Chidambaram has sought and secured protection from arrest in the case on earlier occasions but on Tuesday, the Delhi High Court made some stinging observations about his role in the case. The high court used words like "kingpin" and "key conspirator" for Chidambaram while rejecting his plea.
The Congress has called the CBI move against Chidambaram who was the most powerful minister during the 10 years of UPA rule holding portfolios of home and finance among others - as political vendetta. It is the same charge that the BJP levelled against the Congress-led UPA government of Manmohan Singh around 10 years ago.
Back then, Amit Shah the then Gujarat minister and current Union home minister was being investigated in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Sohrabuddin was a wanted criminal with around 60 pending cases when he was allegedly killed in police custody in 2005, when Amit Shah was the Gujarat home minister.
Allegations were levelled that the encounter was staged after getting the nod from Amit Shah. The case, on the direction of the Supreme Court, was transferred to the CBI in January 2010. P Chidambaram was the Union home minister at the time.
Six months later July 2010, Amit Shah was arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin encounter case and slapped with charges of murder, extortion and kidnapping. When he applied for bail, the CBI opposed the move in the Gujarat High Court arguing that Amit Shah might use his political influence to tamper with the evidence or threaten witnesses.
Three months later -- on October 29, 2010 -- Amit Shah got bail from the Gujarat High Court. The next day, when the court was closed for weekend, the CBI approached Justice Aftab Alam, who externed Amit Shah from Gujarat. Amit Shah was barred from entering Gujarat for two years -- 2010 to 2012.
Amit Shah accused Chidambaram and the Congress of misusing the CBI to target political opponents. Amit Shah was cleared of all charges in December 2014. The Narendra Modi government was in place by this time.
The BJP declared that Amit Shah was innocent yet harassed by the Congress-led government. Interestingly, the Congress is making the same claim about Chidambaram’s involvement in the INX Media case.