Today the Supreme Court refused an urgent hearing to pass an order right away on the plea by former finance minister P Chidambaram seeking protection from arrest in the INX Media Case, a day after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him anticipatory bail.
A lookout circular has been put out by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for Mr. Chidambaram. On Tuesday, after the High Court refused to give him the protection from arrest he has not been seen since then. After that, the CBI visited his home in Delhi twice.
The CBI told the Supreme Court, “It is a monumental magnitude of money laundering case,” arguing against his request for protection from arrest. Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said to a three-judge bench that Mr. Chidambaram was ready to guarantee he would not run away but the hearing was not listed over what appeared to be a technicality.
Justices NV Ramana, M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi said, “Sorry, Mr. Sibal. We cannot hear the matter.” Today, Mr. Chidambaram’s case was not listed as the Chief Justice was sitting in the constitution bench hearing the Ayodhya case.
Mr. Sibal claimed that the issued lookout notice was not justified as if the former minister would run away. Lookout notice means the individual will not be allowed to leave the country.
Mr. Chidambaram said that his antecedents are “impeccable” and there is no possibility of him “fleeing from justice”. He has asked for more time to appear before the CBI and asked for interim relief “or else he would suffer irreparable loss”.
Justice Sunil Gaur called it a classic case of money laundering and quoted, “It was pertinently observed that the economic crimes of such mammoth scale are craftily planned and executed. This grant of bail in cases like instant one will send a wrong message to the society.”
“The petitioner is a law-abiding citizen and has a 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 offense. There is no possibility of his fleeing from justice,” Mr. Chidambaram’s petition said.
Mr. Chidambaram is facing charges for facilitating foreign investment in the INX Media company in 2007 while serving as Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government.