Court rejects PC’s sur­ren­der plea

Court lets Robert Vadra go abroad

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - [email protected] times­group.com Robert Vadra,

Ob­serv­ing that in­ves­ti­ga­tion is the pre­rog­a­tive of the probe agency, a spe­cial CBI court here dis­missed on Fri­day a plea by for­mer Union fi­nance min­is­ter P Chidambara­m, who is cur­rently lodged in Tihar jail in the INX Me­dia cor­rup­tion case, to sur­ren­der in the money-laun­der­ing case filed by the En­force­ment Direc­torate (ED).

“The ap­pli­cant has nei­ther been ar­rested nor did this court take any cog­ni­sance of any of­fence on any com­plaint or chargeshee­t...

New Delhi: ADelhi

court on Fri­day al­lowed son-in-law of Congress chief So­nia Gandhi, to travel abroad on busi­ness, say­ing that the En­force­ment Direc­torate’s ap­pre­hen­sion that he might tam­per with evidence was with­out any ba­sis. Spe­cial judge Arvind Ku­mar granted per­mis­sion to Vadra to travel to Spain from Septem­ber 21to Oc­to­ber 8.

Vadra is fac­ing al­le­ga­tions of money laun­der­ing re­lated to pur­chase of a prop­erty in Lon­don worth 1.9 mil­lion pounds. The court said that be­fore leav­ing the coun­try, Vadra would have to in­form the court and the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency the ad­dress of his stay in Spain along with con­tact num­bers. It also directed him to sub­mit

Rs 25 lakh fixed de­posit re­ceipt with it.

This is not even a no­tional sur­ren­der be­cause the court has not taken the ap­pli­cant into cus­tody in this case though he hap­pens to be in cus­tody in an­other case,” spe­cial judge Ajay Ku­mar Kuhar ob­served.

Chidambara­m is cur­rently in ju­di­cial cus­tody in the CBI case. The ED, through so­lic­i­tor-gen­eral Tushar Me­hta and spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Nitesh Rana, op­posed his sur­ren­der plea, ar­gu­ing that the agency wanted to make use of the 15 days of re­mand it was per­mit­ted to seek un­der the law.

The agency also ar­gued that it did not want to pur­sue Chidambara­m’s cus­tody as of now though there were suf­fi­cient grounds for cus­to­dial in­ter­ro­ga­tion. Me­hta ar­gued, “The ED will be able to utilise 15 days of re­mand to its op­ti­mum if cus­to­dial in­ter­ro­ga­tion of the ac­cused takes place af­ter these six in­di­vid­u­als are in­ter­ro­gated.”

The court said when the in­ves­ti­gat­ing officer was not will­ing to ar­rest the ap­pli­cant at this stage, Chidambara­m’s ap­pli­ca­tion for sur­ren­der could not be en­ter­tained. The for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter had only moved a plea to sur­ren­der and wasn’t taken into cus­tody in this case, it added.

P Chidambara­m

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