Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s appeals for anticipatory bail in the INX Media money-laundering and corruption cases is set to be heard by the Supreme Court today. The senior Congress leader had challenged the Delhi High Court order, denying him relief, in the top court.
Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna are also expected to hear a fresh appeal by Mr Chidambaram in which he has challenged the arrest warrant issued against him and the trial court’s order sending him to CBI custody till Monday in the INX Media corruption case.
On Friday, the top court had granted Mr Chidambaram protection from arrest till Monday in the money-laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. It made hardly any difference as Mr Chidambaram is already in CBI custody in a related case filed by the CBI.
The court has sought replies from the investigating agency on Mr Chidambaram’s plea and directed that all the three cases should be listed on Monday.
Mr Chidambaram has contended that it is a violation of his fundamental right under Article 21 of the constitution, that his petition challenging the high court order was not heard by the top court on July 20 and 21 and he was arrested on the August 21 night. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorare, had said that lot of “hue and cry” and “political vendetta” is alleged by Mr Chidambaram and his party colleagues but “I am saying with a great sense of responsibility that this is a case of money laundering of a monumental magnitude”.
“CBI has recorded statement of (INX Media co-founder) Indrani Mukerjea, which will be tested in the trial, that she and her husband Peter had gone to Chidambaram for FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval and he (Mr Chidambaram) had asked them to take care of his son,” Mr Mehta had argued.
The CBI had registered a First Information Report or FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearances granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs. 305 crore in 2007 during Mr Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.
Then, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money-laundering case in the same year.
Mr Chidambaram was arrested dramatically from his South Delhi home last Wednesday night by CBI officers who even climbed the boundary wall to get to him. He was produced before a trial court on Friday, which sent him to CBI custody till Monday.