New Delhi: The Supreme Court is set to hear former finance minister P Chidambaram‘s plea against the Delhi High Court order remanding him to the custody of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media case. Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna are also expected to hear a fresh appeal by Chidambaram challenging the arrest warrant issued against him and the trial court’s order sending him to CBI custody.
Chidambaram’s relief from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also ends today.
The arrest came after the drama, first at the AICC headquarters where the leader surfaced for a press conference after being incommunicado for a day, then at his residence where the agencies turned up for his arrest. Officers scaled walls to get inside and it took about an hour for them to actually arrest Chidambaram and whisk him away to the CBI headquarters for interrogation.
The apex court has sought replies from the investigating agency on Chidambaram’s plea and directed that all the three cases should be listed on Monday. The senior Congress leader had contended that it was a violation of his fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution, that his petition challenging the high court order was not heard by the top court on July 20 and 21 and he was arrested on the August 21 night.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, had said that lot of “hue and cry” and “political vendetta” is alleged by Chidambaram and his party colleagues but “I am saying with a great sense of responsibility that this is a case of money laundering of a monumental magnitude”.
“CBI has recorded statement of (INX Media co-founder) Indrani Mukerjea, which will be tested in the trial, that she and her husband Peter had gone to Chidambaram for FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval and he (Mr Chidambaram) had asked them to take care of his son,” he argued.
The CBI had registered a First Information Report or FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearances granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs. 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. Then, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money-laundering case in the same year.