In a huge setback to former finance minister P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused him anticipatory bail in the INX Media case. This means the Enforcement Directorate can take him into custody for interrogation. The ED can approach lower court for custody following which the ED can take him in for custodial interrogation.
The Supreme Court bench comprised of Justice R Bhanumati and Justice AS Bopanna pronounced the verdict on senior Congress leader Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict denying him anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED.
“Granting anticipatory bail at the initial stage may frustrate the investigation. It’s not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail. Economic offences stand at the different footing and it has to be dealt with a different approach,” said a Supreme Court bench while rejecting Chidambaram’s plea seeking anticipatory bail.
The Supreme Court also said that P Chidambaram will not be shown materials collected by the ED at this stage. “The ED does not need to produce the transcripts of Chidambaram’s questioning in the court,” Supreme Court added
With the Supreme Court rejecting Chidambaram’s bail plea, the Enforcement Directorate is now free to arrest him in the INX Media case.
On August 29, the Supreme Court bench had reserved its order on the petition filed by former finance minister P Chidambaram against the August 20 judgement of the Delhi High Court that had refused him the pre-arrest bail in the INX media scam.
CBI had rounded up Chidambaram from his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi after he dramatically conjured up at the AICC headquarters and addressed the media after remaining hidden for more than 24 hours. He was finally arrested from his residence on August 21, 2019. He has been in the CBI custody for 12 days now.
Chidambaram is being probed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate over alleged financial irregularities under his supervision while he was serving as India’s Finance Minister under UPA regime.