Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court hours after the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea in the INX media case. His son Karti Chidambaram is also an accused in the case.

Chidambaram’s counsel Kapil Sibal requested the top court registrar for urgent listing of his petition. The matter is still pending.

The bail plea was rejected by Justice Sunil Gaur. “Both the petitions [in CBI and ED case] are dismissed,” Gaur said. The court also rejected P Chidambaram’s plea seeking interim protection from arrest to approach the Supreme Court.

Chidambaram’s lawyer, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, urged the court to stay the order for at least three days. The court denied the request.

The judge said it was “preposterous to say the prosecution of Chidambaram is baseless, politically motivated and act of vendetta”, according to NDTV. “It is a classic case of money laundering,” Gaur said. “Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the kingpin, that is, the key conspirator in this case... Simply because he is a MP would not justify grant of pre arrest bail to him.”

The High Court also said that Chidambaram was “disentitled from anticipatory bail” in the case, keeping in mind the “magnitude and enormity” of the submissions by the investigating agencies. “This is an economic offence and has to be dealt with iron hands,” the court said. “The hands of investigating agencies cannot be tied up in such a massive economic offence.”

Hours after the High Court verdict, a team of Central Bureau of Investigation officials reached his residence, according to ANI. They were also reportedly seen leaving the Congress leader’s home soon after.

The case is being investigated by both the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate. Both the probe agencies had opposed Chidambaram’s bail plea during the arguments on the ground that custodial interrogation of him was required since he was evasive during questioning.

The case

In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, INX Media and its directors Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea. Karti Chidambaram’s company allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from INX Media for helping the company escape punitive action for taking Rs 305 crore in foreign funding in 2007 despite having clearance from the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board for only Rs 4 crore.

Karti Chidambaram has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the INX Media case. The Delhi High Court in March this year admitted a petition by the Central Bureau of Investigation to take on record additional submissions in connection with the pending anticipatory bail plea of former Union minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case.

The two are also being investigated in the Aircel-Maxis case.

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