The counsel for Bhaskararaman had moved an anticipatory bail application on March 12 before the court apprehending that after the ED, the CBI would seek his custody for interrogation.
“The interim relief granted by the High Court… shall remain in force till the next date of hearing, i.e., 26.03.2018,” the bench ordered.
The apex court also transferred to itself the matter pending before the Delhi High Court keeping in view that several high courts in the country have given conflicting views on the interpretation of section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which relates to ED’s power to arrest an accused.
Referring to the order, Gurumurthy, in a tweet had asked: “Is it true that Justice Muralidhar who decided the Karthi petition today was a junior under PC?” The tweet has since been deleted.
Justice Kaur, who did not give any reason for her recusal, said she would refer the matter to the Acting Chief Justice for assigning the bail plea to another bench for today itself
A special court had earlier in the day sent Karti to judicial custody in the INX Media corruption case and dismissed his plea that he be put in a separate cell in Tihar Jail in view of a threat perception.
Meanwhile, Karti’s counsel asked the court to hear his bail plea too, which was listed for March 15. He also sought a separate cell in case Karti was sent to judicial custody.
“On that day, he was interrogated till 2.30 am and was again woken up at 6 am, and was asked the same questions. Due to this kind of inhuman treatment on the part of the CBI, the accused’s blood pressure shot up and he faced certain medical problems,” Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Karti, told the court .
The CBI and ED have been relying on the statement of Mukherjea made before a magistrate in which she has stated that she and her husband Peter Mukerjea had acceded to Karti’s demand for one million dollars for allegedly fixing the violations done in the FIPB clearance.
The court allowed CBI application seeking permission to confront Karti Chidambaram with his chartered accountant Bhaskaraman in Tihar jail.
The Delhi HC sought response of the Centre and the ED on Karti Chidambaram’s plea challenging issuance of summons and proceedings in the INX Media money laundering case.
The bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, told Mehta that the apprehension of Karti, who is currently in CBI custody, was that he may be arrested by the ED as soon as he gets bail in the CBI case.
The agencies are already probing six cases where, following alleged payments made to ASCPL, certain companies got approval from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), under the Finance Ministry then led by P Chidambaram.
The court on Tuesday had extended Karti’s custody until March 9 after the agency said it needed to question him further because “new substantial evidence” had been found in the case.
Karti, ASG Mehta added, has “not been cooperating” and not parting with his phones passwords and to every question, he has been saying that “I am politically victimised”.