[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ITH the Supreme Court rejecting petition filed by former finance minister P Chidambaram, challenging Delhi High Court’s dismissal of his anticipatory bail plea in a corruption case lodged by the CBI in the INX Media scam, there seems to be no immediate relief in sight for the senior Congress leader and a Rajya Sabha member.
His second plea challenging the remand order of the CBI court was not listed this morning in the court whereas the third plea for an anticipatory bail in the case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which was heard post-lunch will further come up for hearing on Tuesday. The court said earlier protection granted from arrest shall continue till Tuesday.
The special CBI Court, Rouse Avenue Court Complex today extended the Chidambaram’s CBI custody till August 30. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that further custody was required to reveal the larger conspiracy involved in the case, claiming that the CBI had gathered certain evidences from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Chidambaram.
Stressing that Chidambaram had been arrested and is already in the CBI custody, a bench comprising justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna earlier on Monday stated that “his appeal in the case has become infructuous.”
The bench said however that Chidambaram is at liberty to seek a remedy in accordance with the law.
During arguments, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and AM Singhvi said that the CBI ensured Chidambaram’s plea become infructuous by arresting him when he was seeking protection from arrest.
“The CBI had no business arresting P Chidambaram when the plea was pending here,” maintained Singhvi.
However, the top court went on to dismiss the Special Leave Petition challenging the Delhi High Court order regarding the CBI investigation and started hearing the challenge posed to a case filed by the ED against Chidambaram.
Referring to Article 2, Sibal said that liberty cannot be denied to a person without the due procedure of law. “The attempt to produce documents without the accused ever knowing what is being produced is in violation of fundamental rights.”
“ED’s only case is that he is not cooperating. This is not fair, this is media trial”, Sibal argued, adding that the counter affidavit that they were to file was leaked to the press. “It is the front-page story in the Indian Express today.”
He also questioned the handing over of certain documents in a sealed cover to the Delhi High Court, complaining that Chidambaram was not aware of the documents.
Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI soon after he addressed media at congress headquarters in New Delhi on August 21 evening while his petition for anticipatory bail before the Supreme Court remained pending.
He was produced before the Special CBI Judge at the Rouse Avenue Court Complex on August 22 where he was remanded to CBI custody till Monday, August 26.
Next day, on August 23, the apex court had intervened and granted his interim protection from arrest in the cases filed by the ED till the next date of hearing. But the former minister had to remain in CBI custody.