The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down Karti Chidambaram’s plea for protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate, saying it may hamper the trial. The son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is currently in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act in the INX Media case.
On Monday, he challenged a summons by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media case. His petition said the agency did not have the jurisdiction to issue notices based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Representing Karti Chidambaram, senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday that the Enforcement Directorate cannot arrest Chidambaram as it had not filed an FIR, NDTV reported.
The agency’s investigation pertains to alleged “proceeds of crime” and money laundering. The CBI, on the other hand, arrested Karti Chidambaram on February 28 for alleged irregularities in getting approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for foreign direct investment in INX Media in 2007.
The court, however, questioned the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate on Karti Chidamabaram’s petition filed under Article 32 – violation of his constitutional rights. The bench issued notices to both the agencies, and said it will hear the case again on March 8.
CBI moves to extend custody
The CBI has applied to extend its custody of Karti Chidambaram by nine days, which ends on Tuesday, ANI reported.
The agency told a Delhi court that it wanted to extend Karti Chidambaram’s custody by nine more days, and submitted a report about the progress made in the investigation so far, NDTV reported.
Karti Chidambaram’s lawyer in this case, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, opposed extension of custody and asked that he should be released on bail. The agency has not provided any reason to in its application to for further remand, Singhvi claimed.
Lawyer Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI, said the agency’s case was not just based on Indrani Mukerjea’s testimony, but other evidence too. Mehta said it was a “huge investigation” and while “substantial progress” has been made, the agency needed more time. The CBI also said Karti Chidambaram has not been cooperating.