INX Media: SC protection to Chidambaram in ED case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday granted protection from arrest to former Union finance minister P Chidambaram in the money laundering case lodged by ED and agreed to hear on August 26 the CBI and ED cases in the INX Media scam.
Chidambaram will, however, continue to be in the CBI custody as the apex court did not intervene in the matter for which he has been sent for custodial interrogation of the agency till Monday.
A bench comprising justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna posted both the matters for hearing on Monday, August 26.
“Having heard the counsels for petitioner and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, we are of the view that the co-accused were granted bail in the ED case. Petitioner shall not be arrested till further hearing of the case. List the petition on Monday (August 26). The respondent (ED) shall file their reply and contentions by Monday,” the bench said.
The hearing witnessed heated exchange of words between prosecution counsel and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate and Chidambaram’s party colleagues Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi.
Mehta vehemently opposed the order granting protection from arrest to Chidambaram in the money laundering case registered by the ED.
Raising serious objections on grant of interim protection, he said that ED had collected innumerable evidence to suggest that properties have been bought not only in this country but abroad as well.
Mehta further said that huge money was transferred through shell companies and custodial interrogation of Chidambaram was needed to unravel these transactions.
Sibal and Singhvi said they have filed a separate petition challenging the remand order of the special judge granting Chidambaram’s custody to CBI.
They said that high court, while cancelling the interim protection and rejecting the anticipatory bail plea, had taken on record the note submitted by the ED which was not even argued.
Sibal said they were not given an opportunity to reply to the ED’s note and the judge who pronounced it after seven months copy pasted the note.
“Word by word, comma for comma and full stop for full stop, even adjectives were copied as it is and parawise noting was done,” Sibal said.
“Now if the courts are going to copy paste from the note given by prosecution agencies then how will the people protect themselves,” he added.
The apex court was hearing two separate petitions filed by Chidambaram challenging the Delhi High Court August 20 verdict by which his anticipatory bail was dismissed in the cases registered by both the agencies— CBI and ED. (PTI)