Delhi High Court rejects P Chidambaram's pre-arrest bail plea

Published: Aug 21, 2019, 09:05 IST | Agencies

Says Chidambaram seems to be the 'kingpin' and 'key conspirator' in the 'classic case of money laundering'

Delhi High Court rejects P Chidambaram's pre-arrest bail plea
Probe agencies visited P Chidambaram's house but couldn’t find him

New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram was in deep legal trouble and faced possible arrest after the Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant him anticipatory bail, saying he seems to be the "kingpin" and "key conspirator" in the INX media case of money laundering and he needs to be interrogated in custody for the investigation to be effective.

Holding that the INX media scam was a "classic case of money laundering", the court also said the twin facts which have weighed to deny pre-arrest bail to Chidambaram are "gravity" of the offence and "evasive" replies given by him to questions put to him while he was under protective cover extended to him by the court.

A former union finance minister, Chidambaram, 73, also failed to get any immediate relief from the Supreme Court which was approached shortly after the high court cancelled the interim protection from arrest, paving the way for the investigating agencies — Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate — to apprehend him.

"Granting bail in cases like the instant one will send a wrong message to the society," said Justice Sunil Gaur, who is due to retire on Thursday. The case also involved allegations of corruption. The HC also declined interim protection from arrest to him for approaching the Supreme Court in the case.

Chidambaram not at home

Hours after the judgment was pronounced, a CBI team headed to Chidambaram’s home in posh Jor Bagh locality but left the place after he was reportedly not found at the residence. An ED team also followed but returned.

After the HC denied him relief, Chidambaram met senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid to challenge HC order in the Supreme Court.

Chidambaram has been asked by the SC to mention his appeal for urgent hearing on Wednesday. In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017. Thereafter, the ED in 2018 lodged the money laundering case in this regard.

2017
Year CBI filed FIR in Rs 305-crore scam

2018
Year ED filed money laundering case

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