Breaking: P Chidambaram gets interim protection from Supreme Court in ED case

Breaking: P Chidambaram gets interim protection from Supreme Court in ED case

Bar & Bench

A day after he was sent to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody, former Union Minister P Chidambaram today received interim protection from the Supreme Court in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him.

The Court also fixed the hearing of the CBI case against P Chidambaram on Monday, August 26, the day on which the CBI’s custody of the Congress leader expires.

When the matter was taken up for hearing by the Bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, addressed concerns surrounding the maintainability of the plea for bail in the CBI case, in light of his arrest. He said,

“I have a right to be heard and I have right under Article 21. All we wanted was a hearing. And now there is a preliminary objection that I have been arrested by CBI so the plea is ineffective. The SLP against CBI was pending at the time P Chidambaram was arrested.”

The Court then agreed to take up the plea against the CBI case on Monday. Chidambaram has also challenged the order of the Special Judge granting the CBI custody over him. The same will also be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday.

Chidambaram’s plea against the ED case was taken up next. Sibal argued before the Bench that certain paragraphs of the order of the Delhi High Court are a “cut and paste” of a note handed over by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta after the pleadings were over. To this, Mehta reacted,

“Don’t make false statements. Is that the best case you have?”

At this point, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed out that Justice Sunil Gaur, who denied P Chidambaram anticipatory bail earlier this week, has suggested that the provision of anticipatory bail should be done away with for serious economic offences.

“The leaned Judge has also referred to the Aircel Maxis case while denying anticipatory bail in the INX Media case. I already have interim protection in theAircel Maxis case and the learned Judge is referring to an unconnected matter in this judgment. It shows how the mind is working.”

SG Mehta then put forth the evidence against Chidambaram in the INX Media case.

“We have evidence in electronic form to show that there was an exchange of money and money was transferred through money laundering. There were shell companies creates overseas by people close to P Chidambaram.

We have found a money trail and found 10 properties abroad and 17 overseas bank accounts and can confront P Chidambaram with these details that these are your men.”

Justice Banumathi intervened,

“Your case cannot be that he is not cooperating?”

“It is my case that he is evasive”, replied Mehta.

Mehta also pointed out that Chidambaram could not be arrested by the ED till Monday, and therefore there was no need for granting protection from arrest.

The Court nevertheless granted interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram in the ED case, until the next of hearing.

[Read Order]

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