The Supreme Court today (Monday, Sep 2) asked the CBI court to consider Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram’s interim bail plea in the INX Media corruption case and told the Congress leader to approach the court to seek interim protection.
It said in case the plea is rejected, he should not be sent to Tihar jail and instead his CBI custody — which ends today — will be extended by three more days, till September 5.
The SC bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna directed the CBI to file its response on Chidambaram’s plea challenging the non-bailable warrant issued against him and the subsequent orders of the trial court remanding him in the CBI custody.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Chidambaram told the court that the Congress leader should be placed under house arrest and not be sent to Tihar jail. “He is a 74-year-old man, put him under house arrest, no prejudice will be caused to anyone,” Sibal told, news agency ANI reported.
Chidambaram has been subjected to custodial interrogation by the CBI for 11 days since his arrest on August 21, after the Delhi High Court on August 20 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.
In a hearing last week, Chidambaram told a special court that he has been questioned for over 55 hours, during which more than 400 questions were put to him. He replied them promptly, even though the agency claimed he has been evasive and non-cooperative, he submitted. “There is simply no justification to keep me in custody. No question on bank accounts, shell companies and money transfers (were asked),” Chidambaram, who himself was making the submission, said.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday submitted documents related to the questioning of Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover under its official seal, PTI reports. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted the documents before a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna.
On Thursday, the top court, while extending Chidambaram’s protection from arrest in the case until September 5, had asked ED to submit the documents in sealed cover under its official seal.
CBI had lodged a case against Chidambaram in 2017 alleging financial irregularities amounting Rs 305 crore in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval given to INX Media in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister. The ED had then registered a money laundering case against him in the same matter.