The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a plea by Congress leader P Chidambaram challenging his arrest in the INX Media corruption case, NDTV reported. Chidambaram has also challenged the Delhi High Court order that denied him anticipatory bail in the case, and led to his arrest last week. The former finance minister is currently in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s custody.
Chidambaram was arrested late on Wednesday, a day after the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail application. His lawyers had moved the Supreme Court earlier that day to request urgent listing of a plea for protection from arrest. The court had asked them to wait despite two attempts by the lawyers to mention the plea, and finally, in the evening, agreed to hear the plea on Friday.
But on Friday, the Supreme Court had granted Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till Monday in a money laundering case that the Enforcement Directorate had filed against him. Both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are investigating the case. Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna will hear the case on Monday.
The court had sought a reply from the CBI and directed that all cases against the Congress leader should be listed for hearing on Monday. Chidambaram has denied any wrongdoing in the cases.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had argued in court that the ED had collected innumerable pieces of evidence to prove that Chidambaram bought properties not only in India but abroad as well. He said huge amounts of money were transferred through shell companies and that custodial interrogation of Chidambaram was necessary to unravel these transactions. “I am saying with a sense of responsibility that this is a case of money laundering of a monumental magnitude,” he said.
Reports on Thursday had also claimed that Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea had told the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate last year that when they met P Chidambaram in 2006 in his North Block office, he asked them to meet Karti Chidambaram and help him with his business.
The CBI has alleged that there were irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s Foreign Direct Investment clearance – the government body that approves foreign investment – to INX Media in 2007, when P Chidambaram was the finance minister. The company was then owned by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who are in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.
According to the CBI, 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 for only Rs 4 crore.
In May 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, P Chidambaram’s son, INX Media and the Mukerjeas.
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