The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday (November 28) reserves its order on the appeal of Congress leader P Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order refusing to grant him bail in INX Media money laundering case. The case against Chidambaram has been registered by Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The SC also directed the Registry to accept three sets of sealed covers from the ED and keep them in safe custody for perusal of the apex court.
During the hearing, the central probe agency opposed Chidambaram's bail plea, stressing that the former Union finance minister continues to wield "substantial influence" on crucial witnesses even from custody.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, argued before an SC bench headed by Justice R Banumathi that economic offences are grave in nature as they not only affect the economy of the country but also jolt the faith of people in the system.
Mehta told the SC bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, that ED has succeeded in identifying 12 bank accounts which were used by Chidambaram to deposit the proceeds of crime. He added that during the probe the ED has also unearthed details of 12 properties which were purchased in several foreign countries.
Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, told the SC that the senior Congress leader has been kept in jail “unfairly” for around 100 days just because he is the father of Karti, who is alleged to be a key accused in the case. Sibal told the court that the ED has no evidence linking Chidambaram with the case.
Chidambaram was first arrested on August 21 by CBI in the INX Media corruption case but he granted bail on October 22 by the apex court. He was arrested by the ED on October 16 in the money laundering case related to INX Media case.