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Suspend senior advocate designations of Chidambaram and his wife, journalist J Gopikrishnan writes to CJI

Nalini Chidambaram managed to obtain interim protection from arrest from the Madras High Court on a second Saturday, while she was charge-sheeted by a trial court in Kolkata.

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Senior journalist J Gopikrishnan of The Pioneer has written to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asking for the suspension of the senior advocate designations of former UPA minister P Chidambaram and his wife Nalini Chidambaram in the Supreme Court, reported Bar and Bench.

Congress leader P Chidambaram and his wife are accused of various financial irregularities and are under probe by agencies like the Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Along with the husband-wife duo, their son Karti Chidambaram is also accused in cases of black money, corruption and money laundering.

J Gopikrishnan, in his two-page letter to the Chief Justice, has accused P Chidambaram of ‘clearly misusing the position’ despite being an accused of corruption and money laundering cases. In his letter, he says, Congress leader P Chidambaram appeared in cases before trial courts in his Senior Advocate attire while his lawyers, Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued for his bail, which is a “clear misuse of holding Senior Advocate Designation” by an accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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He further alleges that P Chidambaram “appears to get undue advantages from the 2G trial Court”, saying that he was given interim protection by the trial court Judge OP Saini despite the Supreme Court directing the CBI and ED  to conclude the probe into the Aircel-Maxis within six months.

The letter also adds the manner in which Chidambaram has managed to secure interim protection from arrest as many as seven times from Judge Saini after being present at the bail hearings in his Senior gown. Chidambaram has also been granted interim protection from the Delhi High Court in the INX Media Bribery case.

Gopikrishnan, in his letter, has alleged that investigating agencies and judges cannot work freely when one of the accused is a Senior Advocate, “How can Investigating agencies and Judges work freely when an Accused is a Senior Advocate title holding person?” said the senior journalist.

The letter also cited the instance of Chidambaram’s wife, Nalini Chidambaram, managing to obtain interim protection from arrest from the Madras High Court on a second Saturday, while she was charge-sheeted by a trial court in Kolkata. The HC bench headed by Justice Ilanthirayan even allowed her to appear before a Chennai court to seek bail. Nalini Chidambaram was allowed bail and interim protection from arrest for 15 days by the evening. Gopikrishnan questions the CJI whether such benevolence from the courts can be expected for common citizens.

Gopikrishnan has requested CJI Gogoi to suspend the Senior Advocate designation to both P Chidambaram and Nalini Chidambaram until the trials against them have concluded. He has also requested the CJI to consider the implementation of an annual affidavit to be filed by all Senior Advocates disclosing cases against them.

P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram are accused in the INX Media scam which involves charges of bribery and lobbying in granting foreign investments worth Rs 300 crores to INX Media. Meanwhile, the CBI and other agencies are also probing a similar case involving Chidambaram and his son, the Aircel-Maxis scam. The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in grant of FIPB approval in Aircel-Maxis deal, while the ED is probing alleged money-laundering related to the deal.

Meanwhile, Nalini Chidambaram has been accused of receiving Rs 1.4 crore from Sudipta Sen, the prime accused in the Saradha chit fund scam. The CBI alleges that Nalini Chidambaram conspired with Sudipta Sen with an intention of cheating and misappropriation of funds between 2010 to 2014. The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a charge-sheet against Nalini Chidambaram in a Kolkata court.

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