The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed Congress leader P Chidambaram’s plea against a Delhi High Court order rejecting his anticipatory bail application in the INX Media case, as he had already been arrested and the plea had been rendered infructuous, Bar and Bench reported.
However, the top court granted the former Union minister the liberty to move an appropriate court for regular bail in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s INX media inquiry, ANI reported.
Both the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are both conducting inquiries in the INX Media case against Chidambaram. On August 20, the Delhi High Court rejected his bail application in the CBI case. The next day, his lawyers tried to move the Supreme Court against the verdict, but failed to get their plea listed. Late that evening, Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI and has been in the agency’s custody since then.
On August 23, the top court granted Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till Monday in the money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate, and agreed to hear his plea in the CBI case on Monday.
On Monday, Chidambaram’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna that the CBI should not have arrested Chidambaram on August 21 when the Supreme Court had agreed to hear his plea in two days’ time. “The CBI had no business arresting P Chidambaram when the plea was pending here,” Singhvi said, according to Bar and Bench.
However, the bench refused to entertain the plea as opposing an order against anticipatory bail was now infructuous.
Meanwhile, the top court heard arguments by Chidambaram’s lawyers for protection from arrest in the case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. The arguments will continue on Tuesday, and Chidambaram will continue to have interim protection of arrest in the case till then.
P Chidambaram will file a rejoinder to the Enforcement Directorate’s affidavit.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has told the court that the Enforcement Directorate has 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 his custodial interrogation was necessary to unravel these transactions.
The CBI has alleged that there were irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s foreign direct investment clearance to INX Media in 2007, when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The company was then owned by businesspersons Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, who are in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.
According to the CBI, the company of P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram 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, INX Media and the Mukerjeas. Indrani Mukerjea and Peter Mukerjea have reportedly told the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate 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.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.