As the hearing in the INX Media money laundering case filed against former Union minister P Chidambaram resumed Tuesday, the Supreme Court extended till tomorrow protection from arrest granted to the senior Congress leader. The probe agency will now argue in the apex court on Wednesday, reported PTI. Follow LIVE Updates
As the case was presented in the top court today, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said it would hear the arguments of the ED on Chidambaram’s two petitions, including the challenge to remand orders, on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the former Union minister, filed an application seeking direction to the ED to produce the transcripts of the questioning conducted on December 19 last year and January 1 and January 21 this year in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, said he would like to reply to the fresh application during the course of his arguments.
Sibal said that the transcripts will show whether Chidambaram was evasive during his questioning, as alleged by the ED. The former finance minister’s counsel in the case also told the bench that the ED cannot place documents in the court randomly and “behind the back” for seeking Chidambaram’s custody.
“They are just producing documents at random and saying this is part of the case diary,” Sibal said, adding, “They cannot place the documents behind the back and seek custody of accused.”
Also appearing for Chidambaram, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, referred to the constitutional and legal provisions and said that fundamental right of citizens under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) cannot be suspended. He argued that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was amended in 2009 whereas the allegations in the case are of 2007-2008.
“You try and paint a person as a kingpin when these alleged offences did not exist at that time,” he told the court during the arguments which continued in the post-lunch session. The apex court had on Monday extended till Tuesday the protection from arrest given to Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED.
Chidambaram was the Union minister for finance as also home during the UPA-I and UPA-II government from 2004 to 2014. The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case against him in 2017.
On Monday, a Delhi special court remanded Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram in CBI custody for an additional four days till August 30 in the case. Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said the CBI demand that Chidambaram has to be further interrogated in its custody was “justified”.
(With PTI inputs)