Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging an order that allowed to inspect the documents, which were seized during the investigation, by the accused persons in INX Media Pvt Ltd, including former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti.
A single bench of Justice Mukta Gupta dismissed the CBI’s plea seeking to set aside a special judge’s March 5 order that allowed the inspection of documents kept in the record room by the accused persons or their advocate.
“The petition is dismissed,” the Court said.
Earlier, the judgment in the matter was reserved on August 27 this year. Advocate Anupam S. Sharma appeared on behalf of the CBI while senior counsels Sidharth Luthra, Pramod Kumar Dubey, and Siddharth Aggarwal represented the Chidambarams.
The CBI has been opposing the inspection of documents on the grounds that allowing the accused persons inside the ‘Malkhana’ — room to store case-related materials in court –may lead to the tampering of evidence in the ongoing high-profile money laundering case.
While the accused persons had a right to a fair trial, the collective interest of society cannot be impinged, the probe agency stated.
Chidambaram and Karti are currently out on bail. Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21, 2019, in a case registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving Rs 305 crore overseas funds in 2007, when he was the Finance Minister.
His son Karti Chidambaram was involved in several issues and in 2017, the CBI had charged him and INX Media promoters Peter Mukherjea and his wife Indrani with conspiracy, cheating, receiving illegal gratification, influencing public servants, and misconduct.
The CBI, in its affidavit, said that Karti Chidambaram had used his influence while his father, P. Chidambaram, was the Union Finance Minister, to help INX Media get approval for foreign investment from three Mauritius-based investors.
The ED also had registered a PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) case based on FIR by the CBI.