The Supreme Court today extended the interim protection given to scam-tainted UPA era former finance minister P Chidambaram from arrest by Enforcement Directorate. The apex court is hearing his petition against Delhi High Court order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea.
The apex court granted protection to Chidambaram from ED custody even while the CBI continues to interrogate him in custody in his culpability in the INX Media case.
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P Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) on August 21 and was subsequently sent to 4-days custody by a special CBI court. On the expiry of the custody period, the court had extend his custody by 4 days till August 30 on CBI’s request. Another investigative agency, the Enforcement Directorate, which found sprawling properties owned by him in 12 countries, is seeking custody of P Chidambaram for questioning him in cases related to money laundering.
Yesterday, the SC granted interim protection to Chidambaram from arrest by the ED till Wednesday. Today, the SC extended his protection till Thursday. The hearing the case will continue tomorrow.
Chidambaram’s counsel Dr AM Singhvi yesterday asserted that the former union minister’s custody is sought by the ED only for “humiliation, humiliation and humiliation”. However, prosecutor advocate Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today retorted back saying the ED is seeking Chidambaram’s custody only for “prevention, prevention with Capital P”.
It is notable to mention here that the other central government agency, CBI is displeased with Chidambaram’s evasive answers to their questions and is currently contemplating on securing court’s permission to conduct a lie-detection test on him.
According to reports, the ED has further claimed that Chidambaram and his associates have been trying to tamper with evidence, trying to sell-off assets abroad and close various foreign bank accounts which he and the other co-accused in the INX media case been operating through shell companies.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the investigating agency has claimed that Chidambaram has bank accounts in as many as 12 countries, namely, Argentina, Austria, British Virgin Iceland, France, Greece, Malaysia, Monaco, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Sri Lanka.