SC grants interim protection to Chidambaram in ED case; no relief in CBI matter

The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), but the senior leader will remain in custody as the apex court did not intervene in the CBI case.

The court adjourned hearing on the pleas against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED filed by Chidambaram, seeking interim protection against his arrest, to Monday.

The matters were listed before Justices R. Bhanumati and A.S. Bopanna. The CBI had registered the case under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal code and ED has registered the case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI and ED, submitted at the very outset that the plea for anticipatory bail on the CBI matter became infructuous since Chidambaram had already been arrested.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Chidambaram, argued that the fundamental rights under Article 21 have been violated. As the matter for anticipatory bail was mentioned on Wednesday and just because it could not be taken up, the CBI arrested Chidambaram in the evening, he said, arguing that he still has the right to be heard.

Justice Bhanumati questioned the details of the trial court order for custodial interrogation passed on Thursday evening. Sibal said the special leave petition challenging the order was ready and pleaded for the matters to be listed for Monday.

On the plea against ED, Sibal claimed that the Delhi High Court’s single judge had copy-pasted verbal arguments/notes of the respondents as observation in its order. This clearly showed his bias in the case, Sibal added.

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