Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who is in CBI custody in the INX Media case, on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the probe agency wanted his arrest just to "humiliate" him. He asked how he can be called a "kingpin" for an alleged offence with retrospective effect.
As the top court extended till today the interim protection from arrest granted to Mr Chidambaram on August 23 in the alleged money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate, Mr Chidambaram's family alleged that the government's motive was to "demonise and humiliate" him.
"We challenge the government to produce a shred of evidence in support of one undisclosed bank account, one undisclosed property or one shell company anywhere in the world," the former Union Minister's son Karti Chidambaram said in a statement on Twitter. Karti Chidambaram is also an accused in the INX Media case and is out on bail.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Mr Chidambaram, said the former Union Minister was not evasive during his questioning and has fully cooperated in the probe. "You (Enforcement Directorate) want to arrest me, but for what reason? The answer is - to humiliate me, to humiliate me and to humiliate me, minute by minute and hour by hour," he said, representing his client. He said the probe agency filed the case in 2017, whereas the alleged offences alleged are of the period 2007-2008.
Mr Chidambaram asked the top court to tell the probe agency to show transcripts of his questioning in the alleged money laundering case.
After the CBI filed a First Information Report in May 2017 over alleged 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, when Mr Chidambaram was Finance Minister, the Enforcement Directorate filed a case of alleged money laundering.
Mr Chidambaram's lawyer told the Supreme Court he has been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate three times in 2018 and 2019, and the transcripts of questioning would clear the air on whether he had been evasive in his replies, as alleged by the probe agency while seeking his custodial interrogation.
"Their case is that they have all the evidence and documents. Our case is that they never put it (document) to him during questioning," senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for 73-year-old Mr Chidambaram, told a Supreme Court bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the probe agency, said he would respond to Mr Chidambaram's plea seeking production of transcripts of his questioning on December 19 last year and January 1 and January 21 this year during his arguments today.
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