Chidambaram, in CBI custody for 15 days, may be arrested by ED next
Chidambaram’s request for protection against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate was turned down by the Supreme Court.Updated: Sep 05, 2019 12:55 IST
P Chidambaram, the former finance minister who has spent 15 days in custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation, may be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media case. The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down his request for protection against arrest by the federal investigating agency mandated to probe money laundering, ruling that the ED was right to argue that his custodial interrogation was necessary.
A two-judge bench led by Justice R Banumathi also rejected the contention of Chidambaram’s legal team that the court should not be given information in sealed cover.
“The court can peruse documents in sealed covers to consider bail,” the bench said, but underscored that it would not do it in this case to make sure that it does not prejudice Chidambaram’s case.
The judges observed that anticipatory bail at an initial stage could “frustrate the investigation”.
“It’s not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail. Economic offences stand at a different footing and has to be dealt with a different approach,” the court said, according to news agency ANI.
Chidambaram has been in custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation for the last 15 days, the last three days at his request to block an effort by the probe agencies to send him to Tihar jail since his petitions were still pending before the top court.
The Supreme Court said Chidambaram could apply for regular bail before the competent court on his arrest.
The top court’s ruling places the decision on what next for Chidambaram in the hands of the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI special court at Rouse Avenue Court complex in the national capital. The CBI told the court earlier this week that it was done with interrogating Chidambaram for its case and he should be sent to judicial custody in Tihar. For now, Chidambaram can avoid Tihar jail only if the ED arrests him today or he is granted bail by Special CBI judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.
The cases being investigated by the CBI and ED relate to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to the INX Media group for receiving foreign investment to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007, when Chidambaram was finance minister. The CBI registered a first information report on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the manner the clearance had been awarded.