New Delhi: Designated senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union minister and Congress MP P Chidambaram, has moved the Madras high court against the summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which is after her for receiving a fee of over Rs 1 crore from the beleaguered Saradha Group. In her petition, scheduled to be heard by Justice T S Sivagnanam on Tuesday, Nalini said the summons was illegal, since as per Section 160 of Code of Civil Procedure, a woman could not be summoned by police. Instead, police should hold inquiry only at her place of residence.
Pointing out that the CBI had already filed chargesheet in the Saradha chit fund scam case before a court in West Bengal, Nalini said her name did not figure in it either as a witness or as an accused. Despite that the ED had been issuing summonses to her, she said.
Nalini had fully cooperated with the ED, which had sent her three summonses earlier.She had furnished all documents and replies to ED queries, and her authorised representative had explained them in person, they said.
The third summons contained a repeat of earlier queries, despite the fact that she had answered all questions already, an advocate in her team . A fee of over Rs 1 crore was paid to her for her more than 25 appearances in courts and company law board, he said, adding that the money was paid by Saradha Group chairman Sudhipto Sen because it was a clause in an agreement between Sudhipto and former Union minister Matang Singh's wife Manoranjana over a television channel purchase deal. Only the latter was Nalini's client, counsel said.
Her fee was paid in cheque, and she declared it in her tax returns and paid tax as well, he said. Also, the transactions had taken place well before the Saradha scam case. Calling the fourth ED summons a harassment since it, too, contained similar set of questions, he said the third and the fourth summonses had asked Nalini to be present before officials on a Friday.
Nalini, in her present petition, has urged the court declare the summons as illegal and to restrain ED officials from taking any action pursuant to the summons.