SC dismisses Chidambaram's plea against CBI arrest

SC dismisses Chidambaram's plea against CBI arrest

Chidambaram, whose CBI custody is ending on Monday, will be produced before a trial court where the agency can further seek his custody. PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea made by former Union finance minister P Chidambaram against the Delhi High Court's order of August 20 rejecting his anticipatory bail plea in the INX media case, saying his petition has become infructuous on his arrest on August 21.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, however, agreed to consider his plea to restrain the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from arrest in the separate case registered by it in May 2017 with regard to alleged money laundering.

After hearing senior advocate Kapil Sibal “in full” for more than three hours, the court decided to consider the matter again on Tuesday against the high court's judgement as he sought time to file a response to the affidavit filed by the ED opposing his pre-arrest bail.

The court extended the protection from arrest of Chidambaram by the Enforcement Directorate till Tuesday. It had on August 23 restrained the ED from arresting the 73-year-old Congress leader and senior advocate.

During the hearing, Sibal contended that after dismissal of the petition for anticipatory bail by the High Court, he had approached the Supreme Court challenging the said order.

However, he contended the apex court did not grant him hearing in spite of direction issued by a bench of August 21 for early hearing. “I have a right under the law to be heard. I came to the court that very evening, I mentioned it the next day. The judge passed the order, it would be heard today. Urgent hearing. See the order passed on August 21. I was not heard,” Sibal pleaded.

Supporting Sibal, senior advocate A M Singhvi said, “The prosecution has no business to make my vested right to liberty meaningless. My client was on supersonic speed and cannot be called as non-diligent.”

“We are not converting this special leave petition into an application for bail,” the bench, however, told the counsel.

“Since the petitioner has been arrested on August 21, in view of the judgment of the Constitution in the 'Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and Others vs State of Punjab (1980), we find that this special leave petition has become infructuous. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed as having become infructuous,” the bench said.

The court said the petitioner can “work out his remedy in accordance with law” and approach the court concerned for it.

Earlier, in the morning, Sibal mentioned before the bench that his separate writ petition against the Delhi Court's order granting custodial interrogation has not been listed, despite the order issued by the top court.

The bench, however, told him that the matter would be listed only on direction by the CJI.

“List the matters before an appropriate bench after obtaining order from the Chief Justice of India,” the bench ordered.

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