HC judge’s order copy-pasted from ED note: Kapil Sibal to SC in Chidambaram case
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Chidambaram before a two-judge bench of the top court, said the ED’s note had become the basis of the order by the high court.Updated: Aug 23, 2019 14:05 IST
Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was denied anticipatory bail by the high court earlier this week, told the Supreme Court on Friday that the judge who rejected his request for pre-arrest bail had copy-pasted paragraphs from the Enforcement Directorate’s note to the court in his order. Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Chidambaram before a two-judge bench of the top court, said the ED’s note had become the basis of the order by the high court.
“If courts, now on a note handed over by ED counsel without it being on affidavit are cut-pasted to deny me bail, then how can I even think of getting bail,” Sibal told the Supreme Court bench of justices Bhanumati and AS Bopanna.
By a single order, Justice Sunil Gaur of the Delhi High Court had rejected Chidambaram’s application of anticipatory bail in two cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media cases. He was arrested by the CBI late on Wednesday evening and yesterday, was remanded in CBI custody till 26 August. Chidambaram’s appeal against the decision in the CBI case will be heard on Monday since he is already under arrest.
Follow LIVE updates on Supreme Court on Chidambaram bail plea in INX media case here.
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The Supreme Court, however, went ahead to hear his challenge against the high court order in the Enforcement Directorate since Chidambaram apprehends that the Enforcement Directorate might arrest him in its case next week. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta confirmed this concern, telling the top court that the ED has prepped to arrest Chidambaram after his CBI custody ends.
Sibal, who sharply criticised the high court ruling, said the Enforcement Directorate did not file an affidavit listing the charges against Chidambaram but gave a note to the judge. “And the note becomes a basis of the judgement to refuse bail... The judgement is a final conviction,” he said.
Abhishek Singhvi, who is also representing Chidambaram, said the judge had even gone on to recommend to Parliament to do away with anticipatory bail in high profile cheating cases in an order dealing with anticipatory bail.
“So fundamental rights will change according to my profile? Singhvi asked.
Solicitor General Mehta, the government’s second most-senior law officer who had also represented the CBI in the lower court yesterday, has opposed anticipatory bail to the former minister in the ED case, insisting the enforcement directorate had collected evidence to show money has been transferred to shell companies. “Custodial interrogation is necessary for unravelling the truth,” Mehta said.
The two-judge bench later decided to take up Chidambaram’s appeal against the high court orders in both cases on Monday. The court, however, protected Chidambaram from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate till the next date of hearing.
“Considering the submissions, in our view having regard to the fact that the petitioner was granted interim protection and co-accused were also granted bail, the petitioner is granted interim protection in so far as the ED case is concerned till the next date of hearing,” the bench ruled.