NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear the plea of Karti Chidambaram on Enforcement Directorate's jurisdiction on April 3 in the alleged INX Media bribery case. In a relief for Karti, the apex court last week had said that the Congress leader could not be arrested till March 26, extending the interim protection from arrest granted by Delhi High Court.
The SC transferred to itself matter pending before the Delhi HC 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 had 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.
SC's order had come 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.