The Enforcement Directorate on Monday pressed for the custodial interrogation of Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, in Aircel-Maxis case, telling a Delhi court that he showed "irritation" and "anger" during the probe warranting cancellation of protection from arrest.
Special CBI judge O P Saini asked Karti to file his response by September 18 on the plea of the ED which alleged that the son of senior Congress leader has violated the condition imposed by the court while granting relief.
The ED told the court that the interim protection was granted on March 24, 2018 on the condition that Karti will appear before the investigating officer as and when directed and join the probe, but he has been avoiding summons to appear before it after the filing of the charge sheet.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Sonia Mathur, appearing for the agency, alleged that Karti was not cooperating with the investigation, which was one of the conditions imposed on him.
The agency told the court that the probe regarding FDI approval was continuing.
"The accused willfully and deliberately avoided the summons issued to him since June 2016", with the "sole aim" of derailing the proceedings, the agency claimed.
"Whenever he was confronted with the documents, he showed his irritation, sometimes anger and then conveniently avoided to answer the question on one pretext or the other," it alleged.
"Though the accused did appear at times when called for investigation but used to leave mid-way while intimating that he would not be able appear for about a week. The said modus was essentially to consult lawyers and tailor-made answered to questions asked on earlier date of examination, thus not revealing complete facts and also delaying the investigation.
"It is pertinent to mention that such tailor-made answers provided as a result of the legal assistance has mandated the need for a custodial interrogation of the accused for an affective investigation which would not be possible sans the custody of the accused," the agency said in its plea, moved through advocates N K Matta and Nitesh Rana.
During a brief hearing, the court asked advocate Arshdeep Singh, appearing for Karti, why his client was not joining the probe.
The counsel said Karti had joined the probe on various occasions before the charge sheet was filed by the agency against him. "I (Karti) am not running away. I sought a copy of the charge sheet but they are not responding," the counsel said, while seeking time to file a detailed reply to the plea.
In its plea, the ED said that even during investigation, Karti had either remained silent or answered after consulting his lawyers.
Maintaining that the apex court had directed it to complete the investigation within six months, that is by September 12, the ED alleged that the actions of the accused were "nothing but dilatory tactics" to bypass the attempt to complete probe within the time frame.
On August 7, the court had extended till October 8 the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram and Karti in the Aircel-Maxis cases filed by the CBI and the ED for the alleged offences of corruption and money laundering respectively. They were named in the charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case on July 19.
The ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter and a charge sheet was filed against Karti by the agency on July 13.
Chidambaram and Karti have been questioned by the ED on various occasions, even though the politician has not been arrayed as an accused. Both have denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI and the ED.
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