In a setback for former Union Minister P Chidambaram, the Supreme court has turned down his anticipatory bail plea and refused to grant him protection from being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media case.
Hearing the plea on Thursday, the Supreme Court stated that the right to anticipatory bail is not a fundamental right and that economic offences are serious offences. Stating that anticipatory bail in economic offences has to be an exception, the apex court ruled that the ED need not produce transcripts of Chidambaramâ€™s questioning before the court. The court also said that P Chidambaram will not be shown all the materials collected by the ED at this stage of the case.
The former Finance Minister was granted interim protection from ED arrest by the Supreme Court till September 4. A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and AR Bopanna said it would hear the arguments of the Enforcement Directorate's counsel on Chidambaram's two petitions including the challenge to the remand orders issued by the trial court.
The apex court took on record that it will not be influenced by any views expressed by the Delhi High Court in denying anticipatory bail to Chidambaram and instead the case will be heard on merits.
On August 21, amidst high drama in the capital, former Union Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI from his Jorbagh residence. Officials entered his house, scaling the walls after Chidambaram gave a press conference at the AICC headquarters. He had surfaced 27 hours after he left the court on August 20.
The INX Media case dates back to May 2017, when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR alleging irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the INX Media company. The CBI accused the company of receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister.
The CBI alleges that INX Media committed financial fraud and then entered into a criminal conspiracy with Karti Chidambaram, whose father P Chidambaram was then the Finance Minister.