The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed former finance minister P Chidambaram and two senior bureaucrats to file their affidavits in response to a suit by 63 Moons technology company seeking Rs. 10,000 crore in damages.
Justice AK Menon directed Mr Chidambaram and bureaucrats - KP Krishnan and Ramesh Abhishek - to file their affidavits within eight weeks.
63 Moons technologies, previously known as Financial Technologies Ltd, filed the suit on June 12 accusing them of taking "malicious and malafide" action against it in connection with the Rs. 5,600 crore NSEL scam during Mr Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister.
While Krishnan was then secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development, Ramesh Abhishek was then chairman of the Forward Markets Commission.
The suit alleged the company was facing continuous "targeted and malafide actions" in the wake of an engineered payment default crisis at one of its subsidiaries National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).
According to the suit, there was no money trail traced to NSEL, 63 Moons and its founder Jignesh Shah by multiple investigative agencies.
However, the group was targeted as part of a "conspiracy" by Chidambaram, Krishnan and Abhishek, the suit alleged.
The company demanded Rs. 10,000 crore in damages.
"The court has said if the defendants fail to file their affidavits and written submissions by the eight weeks granted, then the plaintiff company can seek ex parte decree," 63 moons technologies'' counsel Vishwanathan Iyer said.
An ex parte decree is sought when the defendant does not respond to the suit despite issuance of notice. In such matters, the court can hear the plaintiff in the absence of the defendant.
The counsel, appearing for Mr Chidambaram, on Tuesday told the court that the former minister was in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate and hence sought more time to file the affidavit.
Justice Menon, however, said eight week time given would be sufficient for the counsel to meet the Mr Chidambaram and file an affidavit.
Two months after his arrest by the CBI in the INX Media corruption case, Mr Chidambaram was on Tuesday granted bail. He is currently in ED custody in connection with a separate money laundering case.