NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday strongly rejected allegations that it was indulging in a 'witch hunt' against former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and told the Supreme Court (SC) that it has enough direct evidence to prove that the senior Congress leader was involved in the INX Media money laundering case.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna was hearing the ED’s arguments on two pleas filed by Chidambaram. After hearing the ED's arguments, the apex court decided to extend the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram till Thursday.
Presenting ED's arguments, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the central probe agency has “direct evidence to show how money was laundered” and the ED can prove in the court that laundering is still on.
Urging the SC to not intervene in the case at this stage, the ED requested that the top court should not stop the ED from arresting Chidambaram. Mehta stressed that Chidambaram’s arrest is not aimed at humiliation but for prevention of money laundering. The ED will continue its arguments before the SC from 11.30 am on Thursday.
It may be recalled that Chidambaram's family had released a statement on Tuesday, accusing the government of indulging in political vendetta against the senior Congress leader. Chidambaram's family had claimed in the statement that the government's motive was to "demonise and humiliate" him.
"We challenge the government to produce a shred of evidence in support of one undisclosed bank account, one undisclosed property or one shell company anywhere in the world," his son Karti Chidambaram had said on Monday. It is to be noted Karti is also an accused in the INX Media case and is currently out on bail.
An FIR in this case was registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the clearance granted to the INX Media group by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the finance minister. The money laundering case against Chidambaram was filed by the ED in 2017.