INX Media case: CBI issues notice to Chidambaram

New Delhi: 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” yesterday, after failing to find him at his residence.

At around 6.30 pm yesterday, a team of CBI officers landed at his poshJor 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.

Sources said the notice has also been sent to his email ID. However, it could not be immediately ascertained when the notice was issued to Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader. Chidambaram is likely to seek protection from arrest from the Supreme Court Wednesday morning.

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 15 May 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.