Supreme Court to hear Chidambaram's plea against arrest today
On Monday, Supreme Court will hear a plea of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram challenging arrest warrant issued against him. The senior Congress leader, who is being probed by CBI and ED for his alleged involvement in the INX Media case, was on August 21 arrested after a high-octane drama at his Delhi residence. He was sent to CBI custody till Monday. Here's more.
Chidambaram is accused of facilitating illegal FDI into INX Media, a company started by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, when he was FM in UPA-era. His son, Karti, allegedly received kickbacks for the deal. Last week, calling Chidambaram a "kingpin" of the corruption scandal, Delhi High Court rejected his plea seeking anticipatory bail. Initially, Chidambaram went "missing", but appeared at Congress HQ and was arrested.
After Chidambaram's request seeking protection from arrest was denied, he approached SC, which in turn listed the matter for Friday, August 23. This gave time to agencies to arrest him. On Friday, when the matter came up for hearing, SC accepted his plea and told ED, it can't arrest Chidambaram. It hardly made a difference as he was already in CBI custody.
Reportedly, Chidambaram has also challenged a special court's order to send him to CBI custody till Monday. The court had also sought replies from ED on Chidambaram's plea. The matter will be heard by a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna.
Since Chidambaram's arrest, Congress has been charging at BJP-led Centre, accusing it of "political vendetta" and "misusing" probing agencies. But Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for ED in the court, contended this. "I am saying with a great sense of responsibility that this is a case of money laundering of monumental magnitude," he reportedly said, dismissing political undertones.
To recall, Chidambaram addressed media, before he was picked up by CBI. Crying innocence, Chidambaram said lies were being spread about heinous crimes being committed. "I believe that the foundation of a democracy is liberty, most precious article of the constitution is Article 21 that guarantees life and liberty. If I'm asked to choose between life and liberty, I will choose liberty," he added.