Arrested by CBI, Chidambaram gears for another legal battle
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was sent to CBI custody till August 26 on Thursday, is gearing for another legal battle. On Friday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna will hear his plea challenging the Delhi High Court's verdict of rejecting his anticipatory bail plea. His team hopes the top court would protect him from arrest by ED.
The senior Congress leader is being probed by CBI and ED for his alleged involvement in INX Media case, which pertains to illicit foreign funds that the company received when Chidambaram was the FM. Rejecting his request for anticipatory bail, the lower court called Chidambaram the "kingpin". Thereafter, on Wednesday night, he was arrested by CBI officials from his Delhi residence after high drama.
Yesterday, Chidambaram's legal representatives, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, argued in a special CBI court that he should be granted bail saying all co-accused were given relief. The CBI, however, said he should be kept in custody as he hasn't been cooperating in the investigation. They called him an "intelligent" person who knows tricks for evasion. Subsequently, CBI's request was accepted.
Served a setback by the CBI court, Singhvi and Sibal made their strategy to get Chidambaram relief from the apex court. The legal minds of Congress wanted SC to hear the matter on Wednesday. But the special leave petition (SLP), filed before he was arrested, was listed for Friday. They will now seek his protection from arrest in ED matter, said reports.
"The Delhi HC order has two sides, related to ED and CBI. He might have been arrested by CBI, but we will still seek interim protection from ED and try to set aside Delhi HC order that refused to grant Chidambaram anticipatory bail," said Singhvi.
It's highly likely that after CBI's custody of Chidambaram ends, he might be arrested by ED, hence, Sibal and Singhvi will try to thwart any such attempt. "Even if we lose the case in SC, this is not the end of the road. This is mere police custody. When this custody ends on August 26, we will again seek regular bail for him," Singhvi added.
Further, Singhvi slammed CBI's "cheap stunts" wherein its officials scaled walls of Chidambaram's house to arrest him. According to Singhvi, they could have given him a call and Chidambaram would have opened the gate. He also added that they knew what would happen after SLP was denied. "We were certain either CBI or ED would come looking for Chidambaram. So, mentally, everyone was prepared," he said.