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Judge who dismissed P Chidambaram's bail made PMLA tribunal chairperson

Justice Sunil Gaur had held in his August 20 order that Chidambaram appears to be the “kingpin” of the alleged scandal.

ET Bureau|
Aug 28, 2019, 11.49 PM IST
NEW DELHI: Justice Sunil Gaur, who denied protection from arrest to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX media case, has been appointed chairman of the Appellate Tribunal for Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

The retired Delhi High Court judge, whose order paved way for Chidambaram’s arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), had held in his August 20 order that Chidambaram appears to be the “kingpin” of the alleged scandal.

In a sharply worded order, Justice Gaur, who retired on August 23, had termed the INX Media a “classic case of money laundering” and said it was “preposterous” to say that Chidambaram’s prosecution was “baseless, politically motivated and an act of vendetta”.

Justice Gaur had cited the “gravity of offence and evasive replies of the petitioner to questions put to him while he was under protective cover” as factors behind rejecting the anticipatory bail plea. “The facts persuade me to decline pre arrest bail to petitioner while refraining to comment on merits of the case,” he had said.

He had gone on to say that “it cannot be forgotten that the petitioner was the finance minister at the relevant time and he had given FDI (foreign direct investment) clearances to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore”. “Simply because he is an MP would not justify grant of pre arrest bail to him,” he had said.

Besides dismissing Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail two days before his retirement, Justice Gaur had also dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, in the VVIP chopper scandal. Justice Gaur had also authored an order paving way for prosecution of top Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, in the National Herald case. He had also dealt with the controversial money laundering case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

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