Chidambaram is currently in CBI custody, which is interrogating him in the criminality aspect of the case.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said that there was no “witch-hunt” in the investigation of the senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram in the INX Media alleged corruption and money laundering case relating to alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB clearance in 2007-2008 when he was Union finance minister.
It is not a witch-hunt but a case of money laundering based on cogent material, solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta told the bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice A.S.Bopanna hearing a plea for anticipatory bail by the former finance minister Chidambaram being interrogated for his role in alleged irregularities in the grant of FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007-2008.
Telling the court that “a ghost is created to play a victim card”, Mr Mehta told the bench, “My effort is for the court to see it and to clear the air of ghost that has been created to play a victim” by Mr Chidambaram.
Mr Chidambaram is currently in CBI custody, which is interrogating him in the criminality aspect of the case. CBI arrested him on August 21, 2019 and was next day remanded in CBI custody for four days. His custody to CBI was extended by another four days, which ends on August 30, 2019.
Addressing the court on the necessity its perusing the material relating to ED’s investigation in the money-laundering dimension of the case, the solicitor general sought to rebut Mr Chidambaram’s contention that material could not be given to the court without giving it to him.
Mr Mehta cited the position of law and judgments of the top court and the high courts as well to buttress his point that the material that ED wanted court to peruse before deciding on Mr Chidambaram’s plea for pre-arrest bail could not be shared with him.
As Mr Mehta hammered this point, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told court they have never said that the material that is sought to be handed over to the court should be given to us as well. He said all that they have argued is that before any material related to case is handed over to court for its perusal, it should be put to Chidambaram.
However, Justice Banumathi referring to her notes said that senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi in the course of his arguments on Tuesday had said that what ever material that is being given to the court by the ED should be given to Chidambaram also.
Rebutting the rival contention that ED could not pass on to the court the material relating to its investigation in INX Media alleged corruption and money laundering case without confronting Chidambaran with it, Solicitor General said, “Constitutional courts are not bound by any fetters of procedure in looking at the material culled up in the course of investigation. The court as a matter of practice had looked at the material including case diary to satisfy itself.”
Solicitor General took the court through the scheme of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to demonstrate that it was in no way impeded to look at the offences alleged against Chidambaram relating to 2007-2008 offences.