Court seeks CBI response on Chidambaram's plea

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New Delhi : A court here on Tuesday directed the CBI to respond to former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's plea wherein he alleged that the agency is not interested in a fair trial in the Aircel-Maxis case as part of the charge sheet was leaked to the media.

Special Judge O.P. Saini asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its response and listed the matter for October 8.

"The CBI has clandestinely provided a copy of the charge sheet to a newspaper which is publishing it in instalments to sensationalise the issue and prejudice the rights of the accused," Chidambaram said in his plea.

Chidambaram pleaded that the CBI wanted a media trial, which was causing grave prejudice to the rights of the accused. "The CBI is making a mockery of the judicial process, resulting in complete travesty of justice," the petitioner said.

Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader, his son Karti and others have been charge sheeted in the Aircel-Maxis case by the CBI which claims that he as the then Finance Minister had the power to approve foreign investments only up to Rs 600 crore but cleared the Rs 3,200-crore investment without referring the matter to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs.

Chidambaram pointed out that the court had not taken cognisance of the charge sheet, and hence copies of the same have not been supplied to any of the accused.

He did not seek any particular direction but urged the court to pass any order as it deems fit in the interest of justice.

On Monday Chidambaram had maintained that he had approved the deal on the basis of a proposal from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

"The CBI leaks its charge sheet to one newspaper because it wants a trial by the media. Fortunately, under our legal system, the trial can take place only in a court of law," Chidambaram had said on Twitter.

"It is the FIPB that decides if a proposal falls within the competence of the Finance Minister. The FIPB put up the proposal to me and I approved it along with 20 other proposals," he had added.