The Supreme Court bench of Justices R Bhanumati and A S Bopanna on Thursday refused anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram in the case registered by Enforcement Directorate alleging money laundering in connection with INX Media FDI transaction.
"Anticipatory bail cannot be granted as a matter of right. It has to be exercised sparingly, especially in cases of economic offences, which constitute a class apart", said Justice Banumathi, dictating the order.
It was on August 29 the the bench had reserved orders on the petition filed by former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram against the August 20 judgment of the Delhi High Court that refused him pre-arrest bail in the INX media scam case.
The Court had directed the Enforcement Directorate(ED) to submit the materials collected by it in a sealed cover within three days and clarified that the interim protection from arrest for the Congress leader will continue till today.
The bench today said that it has the powers to examine the documents submitted by the investigating agency for the purposes of deciding the bail plea. However, the bench added that it has refrained from exercising that power so as not to prejudice the ongoing investigation.
It was a marathon hearing, which started on August 23, and continued from noon on following working days till August 29.
The allegation is that as Union Finance Minister in 2007, Chidambaram took kickbacks for FIPB clearance for the FDI of INX media, and the money was routed through the companies linked with his son Karti Chidambaram.
The CBI has registered a separate case under Prevention of Corruption Act in respect of the corruption allegations. He was arrested from his Jor Bagh residence on August 21 by the CBI and is at present under custody.
A petition challenging the remand order has also been filed in SC.
(Story to be updated after receiving copy of the order)