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Chidambaram Bail Plea : Justice Ramana's Bench Orders File To Be Placed Before CJI; No Interim Protection Till Matter Is Listed

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Aug 2019 5:23 AM GMT
Chidambaram Bail Plea : Justice Ramanas Bench Orders File To Be Placed Before CJI; No Interim Protection Till Matter Is Listed
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Justice N V Ramana, before whom a mention for urgent listing of the bail plea of former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX media case was made on Monday, ordered the file to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for consideration.Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal made the mention before Justice Ramana, who is the next available senior judge after CJI Gogoi and Justice Bobde, who are...

Justice N V Ramana, before whom a mention for urgent listing of the bail plea of former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the INX media case was made on Monday, ordered the file to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for consideration.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal made the mention before Justice Ramana, who is the next available senior judge after CJI Gogoi and Justice Bobde, who are sitting in the Constitution Bench hearing the Ayodhya matter. 

Sibal also made a request for granting interim protection from arrest till the case is listed. The bench however refused to pass such an interim order till CJI takes a decision on listing of the case.

Senior Advocates Vivek Tankha, Salman Kurshid and Dayan Krishnan (who appeared in Delhi HC for Chidambaram) were also present in the Court. 

After the Delhi High Court dismissed the application for pre-arrest bail yesterday afternoon around 3 PM, a swift move was made by the team of lawyers representing Chidambaram for urgent listing of the matter. However, they failed to get an audience from the CJI yesterday and was told by the Registry to make a mention on Wednesday morning.

There are two cases registered against Chidambaram under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which were investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate respectively. The CBI registered the FIR in 2017 and the ED did it in 2018.

Both the probe agencies had contended that during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister, FIPB clearance was granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007.

ED contended that the companies in which money was transferred are directly or indirectly controlled by Chidambaram's son, Karti, and they have a reason to believe that the FIPB approval was granted to INX Media on his son's intervention.

In the petition challenging the Delhi HC order, Chidambaram has stated the cases were politically motivated with the intention to silence him. The FIR does not mention his name. Further, the cases are registered invoking the provisions incorporated in Prevention of Corruption Act after 2018 amendment. This amounts to retrospective application of criminal law, which is prohibited under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.

While dismissing the application for anticipatory bail, Justice Sunil Gaur of Delhi HC had observed that this was a "classic case of money laundering". Facts of the case prima facie reveal that the petitioner is the king pin or the key conspirator, said the Court.

The Court cited the gravity of the offence and evasive replies given by Chidambaram to the questions put to him while he was under interim protection from arrest as the "twin factors to deny pre-arrest bail".

"Simply because petitioner is a sitting member of Parliament., would not justify grant of pre-arrest bail to petitioner in this sensitive case. Offenders must be exposed, no matter what their status is. Petitioner is a member of legal fraternity too But this by itself does not and justice concession of pre-arrest bail to him", observed Justice Gaur in the judgment.

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