Former Union Minister P Chidambaram has moved the Supreme Court following the rejection of his anticipatory bail plea by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. The Congress leader‚Äôs legal team, led by former Union Minister and senior counsel Kapil Sibal, is reportedly seeking an urgent hearing before the Bench of the Chief Justice of India, which is presently hearing the Ayodhya dispute. The developments in the INX Media case come even as a lookout notice for Chidambaram has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate.
On Tuesday, CBI and ED sleuths visited the Jor Bagh residence of the senior leader in New Delhi. A circular was reportedly pasted at his residence which asked him to appear before the authorities within two hours of its receipt. On Wednesday, Chidambaram‚Äôs legal team first approached the Justice NV Ramana Bench, seeking protection. Denying interim relief to P Chidambaram, the Bench has reportedly assured Chidambaram's lawyers that the case would be sent to the CJI for urgent hearing.
According to NDTV, his petition says that Chidambaram is a law-abiding citizen. Arguing that custodial interrogation is not warranted, the petition states, ‚ÄúThe petitioner is a law-abiding citizen and has reputation to sustain in the society. He is a sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha. The antecedents of the Petitioner are impeccable. He has never been an accused of any offence. There is no possibility of his fleeing from justice.‚ÄĚ (sic)
The INX Media case relates to what the CBI has called ‚Äėa monumental magnitude of money laundering.‚Äô It dates back to 2007 when INX Media applied for clearance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on March 15 that year. P Chidambaram was the Union Minister of UPA I at the time. INX Media had sought this approval in order to operate and broadcast a bouquet of channels including Hindi entertainment channel, and multiple vernacular entertainment channels. According to the CBI, the Board in its meeting on 18 March, 2007 approved an FDI inflow of Rs 4.62 crore against INX Media. It did not, however, approve the downstream investment by INX Media in INX News.
The CBI alleges that in order to wiggle out of the situation without any punitive action, INX Media entered into a criminal conspiracy with P Chidambaram‚Äôs son Karti Chidambaram. Karti too stands accused of receiving kickbacks in exchange for his influence.