Chidambaram's plea to be brought before Chief Justice
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram's plea challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his petition for pre-arrest bail in the INX Media case will be put before the Chief Justice of India to consider for urgent listing.
Justice N.V. Ramana told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, that the case will be put before CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
'I am sending it to the Chief Justice of India. He will pass orders,' the bench told Sibal.
Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED and CBI, told the bench that it is a case of money laundering of 'monumental magnitude'.
Sibal said Chidambaram was granted protection from arrest for more than an year in the INX cases lodged by the CBI and ED. 'The matter should be heard. I (Chidamabaram) should not be arrested in the meanwhile,' Sibal said.
Chidambaram is likely to seek protection from arrest from the Supreme Court.
Earlier in the day, CBI officials went to the Chidambaram's Jor Bagh residence looking for him but had to return as he was not present there, officials said.
The CBI's efforts to locate Chidambaram again came a couple of hours before his Special Leave Petition was to be mentioned in the Supreme Court.
After the Delhi High Court refused to grant any protection from arrest to the former finance minister in the INX media case, the CBI issued a notice to him on Tuesday, asking him to appear before the investigation officer within two hours, after failing to find him at his residence.
Chidambaram's legal team said the notice did not mention the specific provision of law under which he was summoned and asked that the agency should not take any coercive action against him till his petition comes for hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.
Arshdeep Khurana, a lawyer of Chidambaram, stated that his client has come to know 'through reports' that he has been asked to be present before the investigation officer in the INX Media case. 'I am instructed to state that your notice fails to mention the provision of law under which my client has been issued a notice at midnight calling upon him to appear at a short notice of 2 (two) hours. Furthermore, kindly note that my client is exercising the rights available to him in law and had approached the hon'ble Supreme Court on 20.08.2019 seeking urgent reliefs in respect of the order dated 20.08.2019 dismissing his anticipatory bail application no. 1316/2018 in the captioned FIR,' Khurana responded.
It further stated, 'On moving the Hon'ble Supreme Court at 04:30 PM on 20.08.2019, he has been permitted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court to mention the urgent Special Leave Petition against the above said order before the Hon'ble Supreme Court at 10.30 AM on 21.08.2019. I, therefore, request you to not take any coercive action against my client till then and await the above mentioned hearing at 10:30 AM on 21.08.2019.'
The CBI team, which had some superintendent of police-rank officials, did not make clear if they had gone to Chidambaram's residence to arrest him.