UPDATE: In a massive setback for P Chidambaram, Supreme Court has dismissed his plea for anticipatory bail in INX Media case. It said that it agrees with the Enforcement Directorate's petition which says that he should be put in the agency custody for interrogation. Chidambaram is likely to be arrested by the central agency. The apex court said that the case is not fit for grant of anticipatory bail.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said that the economic offences stand at different footing and it has to be dealt with different approach. It added that granting anticipatory bail in economic offece would hamper probe. The investigating agency has to be given sufficient freedom to conduct probe into the case, the apex court said. The Congress leader can be taken into the ED's custody.
P Chidambaram withdrew in SC his plea against non-bailable warrant, remand orders of trial court in INX Media corruption case lodged by CBI. "We have decided to unconditionally withdraw petition," Chidambaram's counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the top court. The apex court has permitted Chidambaram to withdraw his plea in INX Media corruption case.
Chidambaram has received relief in the Aircel Maxis case in all four pleas filed by him. The Special Court has granted anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in both ED and CBI cases in Aircel-Maxis matter. The bail has been granted on the condition of paying Rs 1 lakh surety. The next hearing is on April 1.
Thursday is a crucial day for Congress veteran P Chidambaram, as his fate will be decided by the Supreme Court which was scheduled to pronounce verdict on his plea challenging the Delhi High Court's verdict denying him anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED. The apex court is also likely to pass an order on his plea challenging the issuance of the non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him and the subsequent remand orders for custodial interrogation issued by the trial court in the corruption case lodged by the CBI. Chidambaram's 15-day CBI custody, ordered by the special court in five spells. His CBI custody started after his arrest on August 21 night, comes to end on Thursday.
His fate will also be decided by the trial court which reserved order on anticipatory bail applications in the cases registered by the CBI and the ED in the Aircel-Maxis deal scam. In the Supreme Court, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, had reserved orders on August 29 on the Chidambaram's plea in the ED case. While reserving the orders the bench had said it would decide on the question whether to look into the documents placed before it by the ED in a sealed cover. "Whether to look into the documents will depend on the decision of the court," the bench had said and added that if it decides not to look into the document, then entire documents will be returned to the ED as it is.
The top court had directed the ED to produce the documents in a sealed cover with the authenticated seal of the Directorate of Enforcement. Chidambaram, who was arrested on August 21, is in the CBI custody till Thursday in a corruption case in relation to the INX Media case. He is likely to be produced before the special judge on expiry of his remand period. The top court had on September 3 ordered that Chidambaram would remain in the CBI custody till September 5 despite the probe agency insisting that it did not require his further custodial interrogation.
CBI had lodged an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, ED lodged a money laundering case in 2017. The Delhi High Court had on August 20, rejected anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambaram in the INX media scam cases lodged by CBI and ED. If the apex court gives relief in both the CBI and ED cases, then Chidambaram will be out on bail.