In a major setback for the UPA stalwart and the former finance minister P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court of India dismissed anticipatory bail plea filed by him against Delhi High Court order denying him protection from CBI arrest in the INX Media case. The court said that after Chidambaram’s arrest, the matter is now “infructuous”.
Breaking – INX Media : SC Dismisses Chidambaram’s Plea For Anticipatory Bail In CBI Case As ‘Infructuous’ https://t.co/L7Kw1YfBrX
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) August 26, 2019
However, the court has granted liberty to the UPA era finance minister for approaching an appropriate court for regular bail. A bench comprising of Justices Bhanumati and A S Bopanna observed that the petition for anticipatory bail has become “infructuous” as Chidambaram has already been arrested and remanded to CBI custody. Granting Chidambaram apply for a regular bail at relevant courts, the bench added that the trial court must not be influenced by the observations made by the Delhi High Court.
Apart from the INX Media case, the Enforcement Directorate filed another case for alleged money laundering transactions. The court is separately considering the bail plea moved in the ED case. Chidambaram’s lawyer Sibal had alleged that the ED had leaked documents to the media. However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta rejected the claims saying his client ED did not leak the said affidavit.
Representing P Chidambaram, Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Dr AM Singhvi contended that the petition didn’t become infructuous as the petitioner was arrested when his petition was pending in the SC. They argued that the CBI could not have arrested him on August 21 as his petition was listed to be heard on August 23. Both Sibal and Singhvi argued that the court has the authority to restore the status quo ante with regard to P Chidambaram.
However, the bench remained unmoved by their persuasions and upheld its order to reject the petition.
The INX Media case relates to discrepancies and alleged shady dealings in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the media group for international investment funds worth several hundred crores. Chidambaram was the finance minister at that time. As per reports, the ED is hopeful of getting Chidambaram’s custody following which he could be questioned on the source of money through which his son and Congress MP Karti Chidambaram bought various properties in India and abroad including a tennis club in Spain, cottages in the UK. These properties are reportedly valued at Rs 54 crore.