INX Media case

SC to hear Chidambaram''s appeal on Friday

NEW DELHI: Wednesday was a day of bad news for former home minister P Chidambaram, who faces charges of corruption in the INX media case. On the one hand, the Supreme Court refused to hear his petition for protection from arrest on urgent basis, and on the other, the ED and CBI both issued look-out notices against him.

uttara@tribuneindia.com

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 21

The Supreme Court will hear former home minister P Chidambaram’s petition for protection from arrest on Friday.

The development came after the Congress leader’s lawyers spent all day at the court trying to get it to hear its appeal. Chidambaram’s lawyers waited for the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to wrap up the day’s hearing in the ongoing Ayodhya dispute to hear the former home minister’s appeal, but the Bench rose without hearing it.

(Read: Chidambaram's petition in SC says INX media scam ‘politically motivated’) 

Earlier on Wednesday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned Chidambaram’s petition before a Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana to ask for urgent listing and hearing. Sibal told the court that delay would defeat the purpose and make the petition infructuous. But Justice Ramana said he was sending the file to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to assign it to a Bench. 

Chidambaram has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea.

Chidambaram’s lawyers have been trying to get the apex court to hear his case on an urgent basis since Tuesday, hours after his anticipatory bail application was rejected, making his immediate arrest a possibility.  

The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, terming the INX Media scam a “classic case of money laundering” and even refused to grant him interim protection from arrest to approach the top court.

Noting that he was of the prima facie opinion that the former finance minister’s custodial interrogation was required for an effective probe into the case, Justice Gaur said granting bail in such cases would send wrong message to society.

Listing the reasons for denial of anticipatory bail plea, the HC said Chidambaram was evasive in replies to the probe agencies while enjoying protection given by it on July 25, 2018, in both the cases and extended from time to time.

Chidambaram put up a dramatic appearance at the Congress headquarters on Wednesday, where he told the press he was aghast at reports that said he was hiding from the law.  

The Congress leader was detained later in the evening, hours after both ED and CBI issued look-out circulars against him.

The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media cases involving Rs 305 crore. It was during his tenure as finance minister in the UPA-I government that clearances from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) were given to the two ventures.

In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, the ED in 2018 lodged the money laundering case in this regard. 

Immediately after Tuesday's developments, both CBI and ED went to his residence in New Delhi's Jorbagh, but did not find him there. 
 
The Congress will hold a press conference at 8.15 pm. With agencies