Breaking: Court to hear P Chidambaram interim bail plea tomorrow, CBI custody extended till then

Breaking: Court to hear P Chidambaram interim bail plea tomorrow, CBI custody extended till then

Bar & Bench

The Court of Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar will hear the interim bail application moved by former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over Chidambaram will continue to operate.

13. Let the notice of interim bail application be given to CBI for its response on 03.09.2019. 

14. In view of the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the order dated 02.09.2019 in SLP (Crl) 7618-7619, the police custody remand of the accused is extended till 03.09.2019. Let he be produced at 3.30 pm.” , the order reads.

The order was passed in light of two consecutive developments before the Supreme Court earlier in the day.

As per the first order passed by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice R Banumathi, Chidambaram was asked to move an interim bail plea before the CBI Court which was directed to be taken up and decided by the CBI Court today itself.

In case the bail was rejected, the Supreme Court had directed that P Chidambaram’s CBI custody be extended till Thursday.

Shortly thereafter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before the Division Bench and urged it to take up the Chidambaram’s plea challenging the remand orders tomorrow and in the meantime, extend P Chidambaram’s custody by one more day.

The Supreme Court then allowed the matter to be listed tomorrow with a direction to the CBI to approach the CBI Court for extension of custody.

The hearing before the CBI Court, therefore, revolved around the issue whether the CBI Court was bound to hear and decide the interim bail plea today itself or not.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, informed the Court about the developments and stated that after an initial order was passed by the Supreme Court today, he made a mention before the Bench.

“I requested the matter to be kept tomorrow. It recorded that I would be praying for one-day police custody.” 

Appearing for P Chidambaram, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal in the meantime stated that he has moved an interim bail application and was ready to argue it in terms of the directions passed by the Supreme Court. He, however, claimed that he was unaware of any modifications to the earlier order after the mentioning.

Mehta sought to defer hearing in the interim bail plea on the ground that the investigating agency wanted to file a “detailed reply”. Opposing the bail plea, he said,

“…I may be granted time and a notice may be issued to me.”

While seeking an extension of P Chidambaram’s CBI custody by one day, Mehta said,

“Their apprehension was that P Chidambaram would be sent to judicial custody. Now I am asking for the extension of custody by one day so their concern is taken care of.”

The Court eventually decided to list the interim bail plea for hearing tomorrow, at 3:30 pm after going through the order passed by the Supreme Court.

In a petition filed by the former Finance Minister challenging the order of the CBI Judge, the Supreme Court today directed Chidambaram to approach the trial court seeking interim bail.

The Bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna also observed that the interim bail plea is to be taken up by the trial court today itself. However, should this plea be rejected, status quo will be maintained till Thursday.

This effectively means that should Chidambaram not get interim bail, he will not be sent to Tihar Jail and will continue to remain in police custody until Thursday. His police custody is set to lapse today.

Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case on August 21, a day after the Delhi High Court denied his anticipatory bail plea. Both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had sought his arrest in the case.

He was thereafter sent to custody on August 22 in the case filed by the CBI. On August 26, the Supreme Court rejected the SLP challenging the order of the Delhi High Court denying him protection from arrest by the CBI, upon noting that the plea had become infructuous. However, the Bench granted him interim protection from arrest by the ED.

The same day, the Special CBI Court at Rouse Avenue Court Complex extended the CBI’s custody of P Chidambaram till August 30. An application was later filed challenging the extension of remand. Last Friday, the Court further extended the CBI custody until today.

On August 29, the Supreme Court reserved its order in the plea filed by former Union Minister and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram for anticipatory bail in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media case.

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