NEW DELHI: In a relief for Karti Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the Congress leader cannot be arrested till March 26, extending the interim protection from arrest granted by Delhi HC.
The SC transferred to itself matter pending before the Delhi High Court in view of conflicting views by different HCs on the Enforcement Directorate's power to arrest. It said that it will deal with the issue related to ED's power to arrest the accused in money laundering case. The apex court has fixed the matter for hearing on March 26.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it would hear the matter on March 26 and the top court would answer the question regarding the interpretation of section 19 of the PMLA.
The apex court's order came hours after the high court extended Chidambaram's protection from arrest in the ED case from March 20 to March 22. Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, is in jail in connection with the INX Media corruption case lodged by the CBI.
He was arrested on his return from the United Kingdom in connection with the FIR lodged on May 15 last year. It alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of about Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father was Union finance minister.
The CBI had initially alleged that Karti Chidambaram received Rs 10 lakh as bribe for facilitating Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media. It, however, later revised the figure to USD 1 million (about Rs 6.50 crore at the current exchange rate and Rs 4.50 crore in 2007).
The fresh evidence in the case, which triggered Karti Chidambaram's arrest, was based on the statement of Indrani Mukerjea, former co-director of INX Media (P) Ltd, who recorded it under section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate on February 17.