The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to Enforcement Directorate and sought response on the bail plea of former finance Minister P Chidambaram in the INX media money laundering case. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Banumathi and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, posted the matter for hearing on November 26. Justice Bhanumathi issued the notice after hearing the plea filed by Chidambaram challenging the November 15 judgment of the Delhi High Court that had denied him bail in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, told the Top Court that he would file a response by November 25. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chidambaram, told the Apex Court that he should be granted bail as he is in custody for 91 days. The Delhi High Court rejected the Congress’ leader bail, saying prima facie charges against him were serious in nature and he played an “active and key role” in the offence.
The 74-year-old senior Congress leader was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 21 and was granted bail by the Top Court on October 22. Chidambaram, who was arrested by the ED on October 16, is presently in judicial custody till November 27 under the order of a trial court. On May 15, 2007, the CBI had registered the case alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as the Union finance minister.