INX Media Case: SC Extends Interim Protection To Karti Chidambaram From Arrest Till April 2
In a relief to Karti Chidambaram, the Supreme Court today extended till April 2 his interim protection against arrest granted by Delhi High Court in the INX Media money laundering case.
It is to be noted that on March 15, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had extended his protection from arrest granted to him by the Delhi HC earlier that day from March 22 by another four days to today.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) is demanding his arrest in the INX Media money laundering case.
The bench also comprising of justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued the extension order as the ED pressed for an “authoritative pronouncement” keeping in view several conflicting orders of different HCs regarding ED’s power of arrest under section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ASG Tushar Mehta said “Your lordships should note that the ED is armed with the power of arrest under the statute, keeping in mind the several international conventions underlining the need to curb money laundering generated from drugs smuggling, terror financing and black money routing.
“The advent of e-commerce has made an investigation into money laundering more difficult as ill-gotten wealth has been transferred to all corners of the world very conveniently after the globalisation, he said.
The hearing, which remained inconclusive, would also continue on April 2.
Significantly the apex court had also on that day transferred to itself all matters pending before the Delhi High Court pertaining to the ED matter.
“We feel this is essential in view of several High Courts giving conflicting views on the interpretation of section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which relates to ED’s power to arrest an accused”, the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said.
On March 8, after the Supreme Court, for the second time in a row, refused to grant interim protection against the possible arrest by the ED under the anti-money laundering law, Karti had rushed to the Delhi High Court for relief.
SC had then asked the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to post the case on March 9.
Earlier the ASG had contended in SC thatKarti’s petition for interim protection was an abuse of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in order to get anticipatory bail.
Mehta had submitted that the petition filed by Karti for protection of fundamental rights was merely an “attempt to get anticipatory bail.”