In a massive blow to P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused his plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media Case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate. Supreme Court rejected Congress leader appeal against the Delhi High Court order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea in the matter. The ED may seek custody of Chidambaram, who is currently in CBI custody in the same case.
"Anticipatory bail to be given sparingly in economic offences," the top court said. The apex court said that this is not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail. "Granting anticipatory bail at the initial stage may frustrate the investigation....It’s not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail. Economic offences stand at different footing and it has to be dealt with different approach," it said.
Chidambaram won't be shown all the materials collected by the ED at this stage and the ED doesn't need to produce the transcripts of Chidambaram's questioning in the court, said the Supreme Court.
It should be noted that Chidambaram's 15-day CBI custody, ordered by the special court in five spells, which started after his arrest on August 21 night, also ends on Thursday. It means ED could get his custody after Supreme Court's order.
Chidambaram's fate will also be decided by the trial court which reserved order on anticipatory bail applications in the cases registered by the CBI and the ED in the Aircel-Maxis deal scam.
In the Supreme Court, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, had reserved orders on August 29 on the Chidambaram's plea in the ED case.
While reserving the orders the bench had said it would decide on the question whether to look into the documents placed before it by the ED in a sealed cover.
"Whether to look into the documents will depend on the decision of the court," the bench had said and added that if it decides not to look into the document, then entire documents will be returned to the ED as it is.
Chidambaram, who was arrested on August 21, is in the CBI custody till today in INX Media corruption case. The top court had on September 3 ordered that Chidambaram would remain in the CBI custody till September 5 despite the probe agency insisting that it did not require his further custodial interrogation.
CBI had lodged an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. Thereafter, ED lodged a money laundering case in 2017.
The Delhi High Court had on August 20, rejected anticipatory bail pleas of Chidambaram in the INX media scam cases lodged by CBI and ED.