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The Supreme Court today sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the plea filed by former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media Case.
Chidambaram had moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High court denying him bail in the case. The Supreme Court Bench of Justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna, and Hrishikesh Roy today posted the case for hearing on November 26.
Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, arguing for the former Finance Minister, told the Court that Chidambaram had been in custody for over 90 days by now. Despite clearing the triple test, the High Court had denied bail to him. Sibal said,
“The other findings in the High Court’s order were with respect to some other case or from the counter affidavit.“
Chidambaram’s legal team thus sought an early hearing of the case, citing the duration for which he had been in custody.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, apprised the Court of his unavailability considering that he is required to make submissions before the Constitution Bench.
The Court thus gave the ED time till Monday to file its reply and fixed the date for hearing on Tuesday, November 26.
The INX Media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media when P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister of India.
It is the case of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED that P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram received illegal gratification from INX Media owners Peter and Indrani Mukherjea for the clearance.
The CBI had arrested P Chidambaram on August 21 after his anticipatory bail plea in the case was rejected by the Delhi High Court.
Chidambaram, who spent a fortnight in police custody after his arrest, was thereafter remanded to judicial custody. Later, his regular bail was denied by the Delhi High Court as well. He was granted regular bail in the CBI case by the Supreme Court subsequently. The CBI’s review petition before the Supreme Court against the order granting bail to Chidambaram is presently pending.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram was arrested by the ED in connection with the money laundering case on October 16, and was subsequently sent to custody. He was sent to judicial custody on October 30. His judicial custody was extended till November 27 last week. The Delhi High Court, thereafter, rejected his bail plea on Friday.
[Read the Order]