Congress leader and former home and finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested on Wednesday night, capping off a two-day long drama that began with the Delhi High Court dismissing his anticipatory bail petitions in two cases of alleged corruption and money laundering linked to INX Media. Chidambaram was taken to the CBI headquarters. FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES
The arrest comes hours after Chidambaram failed to get an urgent hearing from the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Delhi HC order and CBI and the ED issued a Look Out Circular to prevent him from leaving the country.
— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2019
The Supreme Court has decided to hear the former finance minister’s petition only on Friday. Chidambaram’s plea in the apex court now becomes infructuous as he was seeking protection from arrest. Chidambaram will now have to seek bail before the Rouse Avenue court where the INX Media case is being heard.
Chidambaram made a surprise appearance at a press conference in the evening at the AICC headquarters, where he said no chargesheet had been filed against him either by the CBI or ED before a court. He also said he was aghast that he was accused of hiding from the law.
After the press conference, Chidambaram reached his Jor Bagh residence along with Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi and shortly afterwards a CBI, ED and Delhi Police team too followed him.
However, the manner in which Chidambaram was arrested was not without high drama. The team of CBI officials had to scale the boundary wall of his bungalow to gain entrance while another team tried to make way through the backdoor, PTI reported. A team of about two dozen officials was present at the bungalow.
On Tuesday evening too, officers from the CBI and ED, which are investigating the cases, reached Chidambaram’s Jor Bagh residence in Delhi. However, on failing to find him at his residence, the CBI issued a notice to Chidambaram asking him to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours”.
While rejecting his bail application in two cases of alleged corruption and money laundering, the Delhi High Court had said, “Facts…prima facie reveal that Chidambaram is the kingpin, i.e., the key conspirator in the case.”
On May 15, 2017, the CBI registered an FIR, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) clearance for INX Media to receive overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister in the UPA government. Last year, the ED lodged a money laundering case.