Sunday, Oct 25, 2020 | Last Update : 04:54 AM IST

  India   All India  28 Aug 2019  Ex-FM: Can’t give answers ED wants to hear... I’m not evasive

Ex-FM: Can’t give answers ED wants to hear... I’m not evasive

THE ASIAN AGE. | PARMOD KUMAR
Published : Aug 28, 2019, 1:27 am IST
Updated : Aug 28, 2019, 1:27 am IST

In fact, Mr Mehta had himself offered to address the issue in the course of his arguments.

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday told the Supreme Court he was not expected to give answers to questions by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media corruption and money-laundering case that the investigative agency wanted to hear and which would boost its case.
 Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday told the Supreme Court he was not expected to give answers to questions by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media corruption and money-laundering case that the investigative agency wanted to hear and which would boost its case.

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday told the Supreme Court he was not expected to give answers to questions by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media corruption and money-laundering case that the investigative agency wanted to hear and which would boost its case.

Rebutting allegations of being “evasive” in the course of his questioning on three days, Mr Chidambaram sought a transcript of his questioning by the ED on December 19, 2018, January 1 and January 21, 2019, asserting it would prove that he had replied to every question posed to him.

 

He told the court that in the course of questioning, he was asked if he had any overseas bank account and he had said no. He was asked if his son had an account in a foreign bank, to which he said yes, but that was opened after due permission from the RBI.

The court on Tuesday extended by another day — till August 28 — interim protection to Mr Chidambaram from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

Moving an application seeking a direction to the ED to produce transcripts of Mr Chidambaram’s questioning on three occasions, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench of Justices R. Banumathi and A.S. Bopanna that the documents now sought to be handed over to the court can’t be a part of the case diary and this can’t be looked into.

 

The court asked solicitor-general Tushar Mehta to respond to the plea seeking the production of the transcript of the three days’ questioning in the course of his arguments on Wednesday.

In fact, Mr Mehta had himself offered to address the issue in the course of his arguments.

Further elaborating on the arguments advanced by Mr Sibal on Monday (August 26), senior counsel Abhishek “Manu” Singhvi said if the ED wanted to place before thecourt the questions that it had posed to Mr Chidambaram, then it would have to place the answers to those questions as well.

Referring to Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which says that “no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”, Mr Singhvi cited a series of judgments to hammer home the point that if Mr Chidambaram was not giving the answers the ED wanted to hear, that does not amount to being “evasive” in replying to the questions.

 

“So long as I am available and answer the questions put to me, I can’t be called being evasive. I am not expected to the give answers that ED wants to hear”, Mr Singhvi said, pointing out that there could not be any coercion in the course of the questioning.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said: “It is not my case that I want to extract a confession. We don’t want custodial confession.”

“You keep asking me till I answer (what) you want to hear. This amounts to extracting a confession”, Mr Singhvi said.

Similarly, Mr Singhvi cited several Supreme Court rulings and also Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution to drive home the point that the 2009 amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, by which a corrupt practice by a public servant, conspiracy and cheating were included in the list of scheduled offences under the law to curb money-laundering, could not be read against Mr Chidambaram as the offences alleged against him were of 2007-2008 and the amended law could not be applied retrospectively.

 

Mr Singhvi assailed August 20, 2019 Delhi high court order which rejected Mr Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail primarily on the ground that the “gravity” of the offence alleged against him and his being “evasive” in the course of questioning.

Mr Singhvi cited the Code of Criminal Procedure to assert any offence that attracts a maximum sentence upto seven years did not come into the category of “grave” offences. He said only those offences which attract a sentence of seven to 10 years or life comes in the category of “grave offences”.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta will begin his reply to these arguments at 2 pm on Wednesday, August 28.

 

Tags: inx media corruption case, enforcement directorate