By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Since the Delhi High Court’s rejection of the anticipatory bail plea of P. Chidambaram for alleged money laundering and corruption related to INX Media, the CBI and the ED are searching for the former Home and Finance Minister, trailing his last mobile phone location and using CCTV footage.
The High Court passed the order on Tuesday, prompting Chidambaram, a Rajya Sabha member, to move the Supreme Court which will now hear the matter on Friday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have more than once visited the Congress leader’s Jor Bagh house in south Delhi but have not been able to trace him.
The agencies have been tracking his mobile phone locations and scrutiny of footage from CCTV cameras installed on the way which he took after leaving the Supreme Court.
The last location of Chidambaram’s mobile phone traced by the agencies was Lodi Estate, near his residence. The gadget was then switched off and is still not reachable, said a source requesting anonymity.
The source, privy to the INX Media case investigation, said the CBI and the ED had also scrutinized all CCTV cameras installed on the way from the Supreme Court to Lodhi Road and the possible way leading to the once powerful politician’s residence.
A team of investigating agencies are still camping in the vicinity of Chidambaram’s residence. But there’s no trace of him.
The agencies have questioned Chidambaram’s driver and clerk whom he dropped midway and left for an unknown location, said the source.
CBI and ED teams visited all known locations associated with Chidambaram, his relatives and close friends in political and social circles. “Over a dozen locations in Delhi-NCR have been searched.”
A CBI team on Tuesday night pasted a notice on Chidambaram’s residence asking him to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours”.
The Congress leader was asked in the notice to present himself before CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police R. Parthasarthy to record his statement under Section 161 of the CrPC.
The notice read: “Whereas it appears that you are acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the cases noted below, which I am now investigating under chapter XII of the CrPc, you are hereby directed to attend before me within two hours of the receipt for the purpose of the investigation of the case.”
After the notice was pasted, another six members of the CBI followed by an ED team also reached Chidambaram’s residence on Tuesday night. The teams arrived separately at his residence.
In a setback to Chidambaram, his petition challenging the Delhi High Court rejection of anticipatory bail has not been listed before a Supreme Court bench on Wednesday.
Chidambaram, in his anticipatory bail application filed in the Supreme Court, has said that the observation by the High Court defining him as the key conspirator in the INX media case was “baseless” and challenged the High Court order which rejected his bail plea.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])