The Supreme Court will on Monday hear Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s appeal against his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a late-night drama on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court also ordered the listing of Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail petition in the CBI case along with his appeal against the trial court order granting remand, on Monday.
The court was hearing Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media case.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has granted interim protection to Chidambaram in the Enforcement Directorate case till the next date of hearing. His ED case is to be heard on Monday by the Supreme Court.
P Chidambaram was arrested late on Wednesday night after the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected his pre-arrest bail.
The INX Media case relates to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for foreign investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was finance minister.
Chidambaram and his son were named by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who owned INX Media at the time and are currently in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora.
Speaking for Chidambaram, Abhishek Singhvi and Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court that they were seeking interim protection from Enforcement Directorate and set aside the Delhi High Court order that refused to grant anticipatory bail.
Kapil Sibal said that the petition raises the issue of his fundamental right to liberty.
Sibal, in his argument, further said that the trial court judge has copy-pasted paragraphs from the ED’s written note in his judgment denying pre-arrest bail to Chidambaram.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there was no question of anticipatory bail as the person is in custody.
He reasoned out why the ED needs Chidambaram’s custodial interrogation.
“The court here is dealing with an offence against the finance minister who granted FIBP approval to a company called INX media, controlled by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea.. CBI has a statement of Indrani that is the predicate offence. ED proceedings on money laundering started after this predicate offence was made out,” Mehta said.
The ED also told the top court that it needs custody of Chidambaram for interrogation while justifying the claim on the basis of the High Court order saying that the HC called him the kingpin.
Tushar Mehta further told the Supreme Court that the PMLA law gives ED the power of arrest in specific cases like this.
In a dramatic turn of events, senior Congress leader was arrested by the CBI as the agency officials scaled the walls of his Jor Bagh residence in Delhi, minutes after his press conference at the party headquarters where Chidambaram said he was “not hiding from the law but seeking protection of the law”.
Later, a CBI team arrived in a car to take the senior Congress leader into custody. He spent the night at the CBI headquarters.
He was produced before the CBI court in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue after three hours of questioning by the officials at the probe agency headquarters on Thursday.
The court sent the former Union minister to CBI custody till August 26.
The CBI had sought five-day custody of former union minister P Chidambaram stating that the Congress leader’s custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth larger conspiracy in the INX Media case.
Seeking custodial interrogation of the former minister, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the INX Media scam is a “serious and monumental case of money laundering”.