SC to hear Chidambaram's bail plea on Friday

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to take up on Friday a plea made by former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram against the Delhi High Court's order rejecting his anticipatory bail in the INX media case.

Earlier on the day, Chidambaram failed to get any relief twice in a row, as the Supreme Court rejected his plea to grant protection from arrest until his petition for anticipatory bail was listed for consideration.

"Can we hear the matter without listing," a bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who mentioned the matter second time this afternoon.

Sibal, for his part, contended the matter has yet not been listed. Some defects were there, those have been removed, he submitted. The bench, which called up the Registry officials, were informed by them that defects have been cured, the petition would now be listed before a bench for consideration.

On this, Sibal said that it meant the matter would be placed before the CJI after 4 pm and the case would not be heard on Wednesday.

"The other day you granted protection in a case on an oral mentioning," he said. "There is a lookout notice, he has not run away," he pleaded.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, at this point, intervened to contend that he had to say something if the petitioner argued on the merit of the matter. "Normally, we place the matter before the CJI after work, but in your case, it was sent to the CJI immediately," the bench said.

"We are ready to give any undertaking. I am not running away," Sibal said on behalf of Chidambaram.

The court, however, remained unmoved, even though Sibal said the petitioner had no option but to mention the matter before this bench for listing as the CJI along with Justice S A Bobde was sitting in a Constitution bench. After 4 pm, it was learned that the special leave petition filed by Chidambaram would be posted before a bench for hearing on Friday.

Earlier, in the morning, Sibal had mentioned the matter for urgent consideration but the court had directed to place the petition before the CJI and refused to grant any interim protection to Chidambaram. He is facing arrest after the Delhi High Court's order of Tuesday, rejecting his plea for pre-arrest bail in the INX media case.

The CBI and the ED are looking for Chidambaram, who remained unavailable since Tuesday evening.

The HC had called him as "the kingpin" and "key conspirator" in the case related to Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to the media group in the case FIR lodged on May 15, 2017.

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