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P Chidambaram hearing in Supreme Court updates: Ex-FM playing 'victim card', argues ED; court extends protection from arrest in money laundering case till Thursday

P Chidambaram hearing in Supreme Court Updates: The Bench rises for the day, directing Mehta to continue his arguments on behalf of the ED on 29 August, 11 am. Interim protection from arrest to P Chidambaram extended till Thursday.

FP Staff August 28, 2019 16:54:57 IST
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P Chidambaram hearing in Supreme Court updates: Ex-FM playing 'victim card', argues ED; court extends protection from arrest in money laundering case till Thursday

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Aug 28, 2019 - 16:39 (IST)

SC extends interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram, hearing to continue on 29 August


Solicitor General Tushar Mehta cited the Supreme Court's judgment in the Bhima Koregaon case on a petition filed by Romila Thapar and Others. Mehta points out that in that case too, the case diary was placed before the Court. “As a matter of practice, courts look into case diaries to satisfy their judicial conscience,” he argued.

The Bench rises for the day, directing Mehta to continue his arguments on behalf of the ED on 29 August, 11 am.

Interim protection from arrest to P Chidambaram extended till Thursday.

Aug 28, 2019 - 16:08 (IST)

Showing case diary to accused could ‘prejudice investigation, influence witnesses’, ED counsel tells Bench


After handing over a large compilation of case laws to support his argument against disclosure of evidence ahead of filing of the chargesheet, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the Bench to peruse both the case diary and material on record.

“There's no prejudice to the accused if the police diary is placed before Court,” Mehta said.

Solicitor General has cited judgments of CrPC Section 172 to persuade the bench to look at the case diary, as aid in the case. He also argued that showing the case diary to the accused could prejudice investigation, influence witnesses. “The diary need not be seen but I want the court to see how the victimhood being plead by the petitioner does not hold,” Mehta said.

Aug 28, 2019 - 15:54 (IST)

We have ‘cogent evidence’ in our possession, says SG Tushar Mehta


To Sibal’s argument that Chidambaram should be confronted with the evidence, Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate, said that Abhishek Manu Singhvi had argued that the former finance minister’s lawyers should be given access to the evidence. “This is what happens when two counsels argue for one client,” Mehta said.

“This is not a witch-hunt as alleged. We have evidence in our possession and it is cogent evidence,” Mehta told the Bench.

Reading out relevant paragraphs from an earlier judgement, Mehta further argued that the apex court had observed that it is “baffling as to how can an accused rely upon the material obtained during investigation to seek anticipatory bail.”

“I'm going a step further to satisfy the court's conscience as regards authenticity of the documents,” he said.

Aug 28, 2019 - 15:30 (IST)

Evidence that has not been used to confront the accused, should not be shown as evidence in court, says Justice R Banumathi 

Justice R Banumathi reminds the ED the apex court should not be shown evidence that has not been used to confront the accused in the arguments made on P Chidambaram's behalf. 

Aug 28, 2019 - 15:22 (IST)

Evidence cannot be shared with accused before filling chargesheet, says SG Tushar Mehta

SG Tushar Mehta says evidence cannot be shared with accused before filling of the chargesheet, to which senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is representing P Chidambaram, interjects and states that he never made the case that accused should be given access to evidence but he should be confronted with it.

Aug 28, 2019 - 15:14 (IST)

Overseas bank have given specific inputs regarding P Chidambaram's properties abroad: ED to SC 

ED states that overseas banks have given some specific inputs regarding properties, companies etc regarding P Chidambaram's benami accounts abroad.

"We have issued letters rogatory (LR), we have got some and are awaiting more," argued SG Mehta. (Letter rogatory are a formal request from a court to a foreign court  to obtain information or evidence from a specified person within the jurisdiction of that court)

"At this stage, if the Supreme Court intervenes, it will be preventing us from exercising our statutory right to arrest," he added.

Aug 28, 2019 - 14:57 (IST)

'Can't share documents as investigation still underway': ED tells SC

As the investigation into the money-laundering in the INX Media case is still going on, the ED argued that they were at the stage when they can't share any documents due to the peculiar nature of the material in the case.

Even adjudicatory authority has no access to those documents until the charge-sheet is filed.

Aug 28, 2019 - 14:53 (IST)

ED urges Supreme Court not to curtail agency's authority to arrest P Chidambaram 

SG Mehta urges Supreme Court not to interfere at this stage and curtail ED's authority to arrest.

"They keep saying the arrest is for humiliation, humiliation, humiliation but I say it is for prevention, prevention, prevention, with a capital P," SG Mehta said, while representing the ED during the court proceedings.

Aug 28, 2019 - 14:45 (IST)

Statutory right to arrest can't be curtailed by the Supreme Court: ED to SC

"Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 is a self-contained code. It takes care of all the constitutional rights," argues ED. 

ED says it has a statutory right to arrest but whether custodial interrogation is required is to be decided by the Special Court.

"Statutory right to arrest can't be curtailed by the Supreme Court, only high ranking officials are authorised under the law to make such arrests. There has to be reasons recorded in writing, which we do have in this case" said SG Mehta

Aug 28, 2019 - 14:35 (IST)

ED says ready to give evidence to prove money laundering still on in INX Media Case

As on date, money laundering is going on, ED tells Supreme Court against P Chidambaram's petition. SG Mehta said he is ready to give evidence to show laundering is still on and the ED has direct evidence to show it.

P Chidambaram hearing in Supreme Court Updates: The Bench rises for the day, directing Mehta to continue his arguments on behalf of the ED on 29 August, 11 am. Interim protection from arrest to P Chidambaram extended till Thursday.

After handing over a large compilation of case laws that support his argument against disclosure of evidence ahead of filing of the chargesheet, the ED counsel also said that showing the case diary to the accused could prejudice investigation and influence witnesses.

ED states that overseas banks have given some specific inputs regarding properties, companies etc regarding P Chidambaram's benami accounts abroad.

"We have issued letters rogatory (LR), we have got some and are awaiting more," argued SG Mehta. (Letter rogatory are a formal request from a court to a foreign court  to obtain information or evidence from a specified person within the jurisdiction of that court)

"At this stage, if the Supreme Court intervenes, it will be preventing us from exercising our statutory right to arrest," he added.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 is a self-contained code. It takes care of all the constitutional rights," argues ED.

ED says it has a statutory right to arrest but whether custodial interrogation is required is to be decided by the Special Court.

"Statutory right to arrest can't be curtailed by the Supreme Court, only high ranking officials are authorised under the law to make such arrests. There has to be reasons recorded in writing, which we do have in this case" said SG Mehta

As on date, money laundering is going on, ED tells Supreme Court against P Chidambaram's petition. SG Mehta said he is ready to give evidence to show laundering is still on and the ED has direct evidence to show it.

"We are presently concerned with money laundering part. Money laundering is a separate offence, independent of the predicate offence." Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said.

Mehta argues that P Chidambaram's petition isn't seeking discharge or validity of a law and hence limited questions need to be answered by this court.

He also emphasises on objectives behind the money laundering law, and says agencies have to be deal with very intelligent people since a stupid man can't launder money. Most of the evidence is electronic and there will be several layers of a crime.

Supreme Court proceedings to begin shortly.

Union Minister P Chidambaram told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he has “no account or any property abroad, much less 17 benami accounts and 10 properties, as alleged” by the ED.

Claiming that investigating agencies were out to “humiliate” him, Chidambaram also urged the top court to direct the ED to produce transcripts of his questioning on three occasions earlier. This, he said, would establish that he had not been evasive in his replies.

In a rejoinder affidavit, filed in response to the ED claim that it had found “17 benami foreign bank accounts” used for laundering money and purchase of 10 properties, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, filed an application seeking direction to the ED to produce the transcripts of the questioning conducted on 19 December 2018, 1 January and 21 January 2019, in the case.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing P Chidambaram, said the former Union Minister was not evasive during his questioning and has fully cooperated in the probe. "You (Enforcement Directorate) want to arrest me, but for what reason? The answer is - to humiliate me, to humiliate me and to humiliate me, minute by minute and hour by hour," he said, representing his client on Tuesday.

He said the probe agency filed the case in 2017, whereas the alleged offences alleged are of the period 2007-2008.

The Supreme Court will continue hearing arguments in former finance minister P Chidambaram's pleas against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday. The ED is scheduled to make submissions in reply to the arguments made by Chidambaram's lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

"Non-cooperation or flight risk is if I'm not making myself available for questioning. But here, I'm going whenever I'm being called," senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, in defence of former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case. The lawyer was responding to the ED's allegation that Chidambaram had been evasive during the investigation.

"Evasion in this context appears to be only one thing that the prosecution is saying give me the answer I want or else it is evasion," Singhvi added, in the representation of Chidambaram.

Counsel for P Chidambaram Abhishek Manu Singhvi criticised the Delhi High Court for its order rejecting anticipatory bail for the former finance minister in the INX Media case by the CBI and ED against him. He said that the order was "based on distorted ideas of evasiveness and gravity of offence".

Abhishek Manu Singhvi cited the Supreme Court's decision in the ADM Jabalpur case while making submissions in former finance minister P Chidambaram's defence in the pleas filed related to the INX Media case on Tuesday.

Making a point on preventive detention, Singhvi told the court that in the referenced judgment, the purpose of producing material before the court without presenting it to the party itself was questioned.

He said, "This (ADM Jabalpur) is a case from the time when Fundamental rights were suspended, Emergency was proclaimed and the judgment is generally considered bad law for taking an extreme view on curtailing liberties. Even this judgment spoke against ex parte communication."

An ex parte communication is a communication between a judge and legal stakeholder about the case, without the presence of the opposing party or its lawyers.

He also weighed in about the "high status" that has been accorded to Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution. "Those are non-derogable. Even in emergency or war, those rights cannot be suspended," he added.

A bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, comprising Justice Banimathi and Justice Ramana, began hearing two pleas filed against the CBI and ED by former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is being investigated on the INX Media case.

According to Bar and Bench, the pleas are to do with "an SLP against Delhi High Court's order denying anticipatory bail in ED matters and an SLP challenging the order of Special Judge remanding Chidambaram to CBI custody."

Son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case last week, on Tuesday criticised the media and said that "TV news anchors" had "bandied" his assets documents as "proof" against him.

"I am obligated to declare my assets as a politician," he said, ahead of the hearing of Chidambaram's plea against the CBI and ED in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court on Monday extended till Tuesday the protection from arrest given to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the separate money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A bench comprising justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, however, refused to entertain his petition challenging the dismissal of anticipatory bail in a corruption case lodged by the CBI in the INX Media scam, saying since he has been arrested it has become "infructuous".

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and AS Bopanna will on August 27 hear a fresh plea filed by former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram against his arrest warrant and remand orders issued by the trial court in the INX Media case.

The trial court in Delhi extended CBI's custody of P Chidambaram by four days, till 30 August. During the hearing, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, sought the extension of P Chidambaram custody by five days. "Chidambaram needs to be confronted with other co-accused. He was confronted with one co-accused during his custody,it is going on.. it will continue," he said.

The Supreme Court hearing has ended for the day and further hearing will take place on Tuesday at 12 pm. Interim protection to P Chidambaram will continue till then.

After the bench reassembled for the hearing of former finance minister P Chidambaram's pleas against the CBI and ED in the INX Media case, senior advocate Kapil Sibal referred to the case against the Congress leader's son, Karti.

He said that Karti was given bail because he "entire case" talks about Advantage strategies, but Karti is "neither a director, nor a shareholder of that company".

He said, "The case is that Karti Chidambaram used his relationship with P Chidambaram to influence public servants to secure ex-post facto FIPB approvals for the downstream investment in INX media. However, all the then-six FIPB secretaries have been examined and none of them said that Karti approached them."

Kapil Sibal, the counsel for Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media case, slammed the Enforcement Directorate over a "media trial" when the Supreme Court took up the matter on Monday. The lawyer also said that Chidambaram had been questioned for 26 hours but neither the CBI nor the ED had presented to, or questioned him over the evidence produced in court.

"CBI asking Chidambaram, do you have a Twitter account?.. What kind of questions are being asked? 26 hours of examination and nothing (documents) has been put to him. ED's only case is that he is not cooperating. This is not fair, this is a media trial." he said.

He added, "Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta has contended discovery of large number of mails, bank accounts, among other things. All this was never out to Chidambaram. He was examined by ED thrice and only once by the CBI. Neither agencies put any of this before him. And these documents spoken of is to prejudice the case against Chidambaram. The procedure is not followed and is in violation of Article 21."

After dismissing former finance minister P Chidambaram's plea against the denial of bail in the INX Media case, the Supreme Court also heard the Congress leader's petition against the Enforcement Directorate. Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, made submissions about how submitting documents in a sealed envelope "is violative of his right under Article 21."

Sibal also proceeded to accuse the ED of "leaking" evidence documents to the media, while the ED counter-accused Chidambaram's legal team of leaking the documents. Sibal also accused the ED of conducting a "media trial" and quoted media reports that mentioned details of the ED's closed envelope submission to the court.

Justice Banumathi, heading the apex court bench hearing the plea of former finance minister P Chidambaram challenging the Delhi High Court's denial of bail in the INX Media case made by the CBI, said that "as the CBI application is concerned, we are not hearing it (the plea)."

"We cannot convert the Special Leave Petition (SLP) where you are challenging the High Court order to bail plea," the court said, adding that Chidambaram was granted the liberty to move appropriate the court for regular bail.

The Supreme Court has begun hearing former union minister P Chidambaram's plea against arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case on Monday.

Earlier, reports said that the apex court Supreme Court, which was expected to hear former finance minister P Chidambaram's plea against Delhi High Court's order rejecting his anticipatory bail, was unlikely to take up the matter as the registry did not get clearance from Chief Justice of India to list the matter in court today, reports CNN News18.

The Supreme Court has said that the registry will to do the needful for listing the case in this regard, reported to ANI. 

The Supreme Court was expected to hear three petition today — two against the CBI's actions and the third one to ward off ED's crackdown regarding the former finance minister's connection in the INX media case. Of the three petitions, the one against CBI's custody is not listed for today, Kapil Sibal mentioned before the Supreme Court. Justice Banumathi says the necessary orders could not be obtained from CJI over the weekend, claim reports.

A special anti-corruption court on 22 August sent Chidambaram to the CBI custody till 26 August for interrogation.

An apex court bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna was expected to hear the appeals of Chidambaram against Delhi High Court order, which had granted him interim protection from arrest till 26 August in connection with INX media case probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The counsel of the ED had vehemently opposed before the top court Chidambaram's lawyers request for protection from arrest in the case.

On 21 August, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Chidambaram's plea for anticipatory bail. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued look-out notices against him on Wednesday in the INX media case.

In 2017, the CBI had registered an FIR alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was the Union finance minister.

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