- Top court may take up his petition for protection from arrest by ED
- A special court has sent Mr Chidambaram to CBI custody till Monday
- He was arrested from his Delhi home on Wednesday amid high drama
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram was today granted protection from arrest till Monday by the Supreme Court in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. It made hardly any difference as Mr Chidambaram is already in CBI custody in the INX Media case; his petition challenging the arrest will be heard on Monday so the senior Congress leader has no hope of any reprieve before that.
But the Supreme Court refused to accept the Enforcement Directorate's arguments against Mr Chidambaram's request for protection from arrest
The top court will on Monday hear the petitions filed by Mr Chidambaram challenging the Delhi High Court rejecting his anticipatory bail pleas. Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna said they would also hear a fresh petition from the former minister as his original petition was no longer valid after his arrest by the CBI on Wednesday.
Mr Chidambaram was arrested dramatically from his South Delhi home on Wednesday night by CBI officers who even climbed the boundary wall to get to him. He was arrested after the Delhi High Court denied his request for anticipatory bail on Tuesday and after he failed to get the Supreme Court to hear his request for bail urgently.
Senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing Mr Chidambaram, said it was a violation of his fundamental rights that his petition on anticipatory bail was not heard by the Supreme Court on August 20 and 21 and he was arrested on Wednesday night.
Mr Sibal said while rejecting Mr Chidambaram's plea, the court had taken on record a note submitted by the Enforcement Directorate, which was not even argued.
"Word by word, comma for comma and full stop for full stop, even adjectives were copied as it was in the note and para-wise noting was done," Mr Sibal said and added that if courts "copy-pasted" from a note of probe agencies, how would common people protect themselves.
Another lawyer and Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said the high court should not have referred to the Aircel-Maxis case while denying Mr Chidambaram protection from arrest.
The CBI had filed an FIR in 2017 alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Mr Chidambaram's tenure as Finance Minister. The Enforcement Directorate then lodged a money laundering case.
Yesterday, a special court sent Mr Chidambaram to CBI custody for five days, saying it was "justified" and the "enormity of the alleged money" required an in-depth probe.
Mr Chidambaram has been accused of facilitating, as the country's Finance Minister, a huge infusion of foreign funds into a television company, INX Media, in 2007 at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received bribe for his role.
Mr Chidambaram and his son were named by INX co-founders Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in connection with the murder of Indrani Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora. Indrani Mukerjea, who turned approver in the case, has reportedly given details of her meetings with the Chidambarams.
Mr Chidambaram has denied any wrongdoing.
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