NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will on Friday hear an anticipatory bail plea moved by former Union Minister P Chidambaram for protection against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media alleged corruption case. His appeal would be heard by a bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna. It may be noted that the probe against Chidamabarm is being pursued by the two central agencies - ED and the CBI - in connection with the INX media case.
The senior Congress leader was on Thursday remanded to a five-day CBI custody till August 26 in the INX Media case.
Delhi High Court had earlier turned down his appeal for protection from arrest in the case.
The Congress leader had approached the top court on Wednesday for a prompt hearing, but the case was listed for hearing on Friday. The same evening, he was arrested by the CBI from his residence in south Delhi amid high drama.
On Thursday, a special CBI court allowed the investigation agency to have his custody until August 26 for questioning. The court said Chidambaram’s family could meet him for half an hour every day.
Chidambaram has been accused of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into a television company, INX Media, in 2007 at the behest of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for this.
At the time, he was the country's finance minister in the UPA government. Chidambaram has categorically denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, repeated attempts by Chidambaram's lawyers to get an urgent hearing from the Supreme Court the same day were thwarted by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the request, saying that he did not have the documents needed to argue his stand.
Chidambaram was brought to the Special CBI Court after being questioned for three hours at the CBI headquarters this morning.
During the hearing, he denied the prosecution's claim that he had been "uncooperative" and told the judge that there was no need for custodial interrogation by the CBI because he was neither tampering with the evidence nor liable to become a flight risk.
The court said sending him to CBI custody until August 26 was "justified". "The allegations against Chidambaram are serious in nature, and an in-depth investigation is required," it said.