SC reserves order on Chidambaram’s petition

The Supreme Court reserved its order on a plea by senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who has challenged the Delhi high court order rejecting his plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media corruption and money-laundering case.

The high court had rejected his plea for anticipatory bail holding that the offences alleged against him were grave, he was evasive in replies to the questions by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and was the “kingpin” of the case.

Reserving the order that would be pronounced on September 5, the bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice A.S. Bopanna directed the ED to submit the case material that agency wanted court to see in a sealed cover with an authoritative seal.

The court said that it would peruse the material in case it decides that it can look into it. The court also recorded submission by Chidambaram that the material the CBI has not put to him in the course of his questioning can’t be handed over to the court.

Chidambaram said that the limited question before the SC is whether he was evasive in responding to the questions put to him in the course of his questioning on December 19, 2018, January 7, and 21, 2019 on the laundering of the unlawful money generated from the alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007, when he was the Union minister.

The allegations relates to alleged influence paddling by Karti Chidambaram with the members of the FIPB in securing its approval for overseas investments in INX Media amounting to `305 crore.

Rebutting the arguments by the ED that the material which the investigating agency wanted the court to see could not be shared with  Chidambaram, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said, “At no stage we have said that the material sought to be handed over to the court, should be given to us as well.”

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