SC dismisses Chidambaram bail plea, asks him to go back to trial court

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(Online Desk)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed plea of former Union Minister P Chidambaram seeking anticipatory bail in the INX Media case, saying that the senior Congress leader has been already arrested and the case has become infructuous.

At present, the apex court bench is hearing issues relating to the money laundering case lodged by the ED in connection with the above case.

The court also asked Chidambaram to move the trial court for regular bail, saying since he has been arrested, his appeal challenging Delhi High Court order denying anticipatory bail has become infructuous.

The senior Congress leader’s counsel Kapil Sibal told the apex court,” If the arrest had taken place and I had filed it later, the petition against Delhi High Court would be infructuous. I have a right under law to be heard.”

Sibal said this after Justice Banumathi said CBI matter became infructuous as Chidambaram had already been arrested in the INX Media Case.

The bench in return asked Sibal whether his petition for anticipatory bail had not become infructuous as he has been arrested now.

“We can’t convert your petition against the rejection of anticipatory bail into a petition for regular bail,” said Justice Bhanumathi.

Sibal hit back by saying, “we have not being heard and the plea was listed for Friday in SC and then I was arrested by CBI. We have even challenged  the trial court’s remand order.”

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi also argued that CBI should not have acted like this when the matter was pending in SC.

During the hearing, Sibal also informed the court that the counter affidavit filed yesterday by ED was leaked to media. Government’s counsel opposed to it and said, “We haven’t leaked it.”

“Handing over of documents in a sealed envelope is a procedure unknown to the law and has no legitimacy,” Sibal told the apex court.

When ED wanted the case diaries to be read by the bench, Sibal opposed to it, by saying regular entries are required.

“Even the dairies can’t be used an evidence against any person,” he said.

“ED mentioned wild, properties, foreign bank accounts, but never submitted any details of these. It’s a clear case of political vendetta against Chidambaram and nothing else,” Sibal informed the apex court bench.

“Let ED provide details of one bank a/c or one asset in a foreign country to the court and I will withdraw the petition,” he added further.

“17 bank accounts of shell companies related to Chidambaram according to agencies, why were they never put to him. No such question has ever been put to him earlier and now also when he is their custody,” he said.

“Since the time Chidambaram is in CBI custody, they have only asked him do you have an account in Coutts Bank, in England?  Do you have a twitter account?”, Sibal said, claiming that prima facie there is no money trail as alleged.

“Delhi HC judgment has copied verbatim the note passed on by the agencies and they haven’t denied my cut-paste allegation in their affidavit before this court,” Sibal told the court.

Earlier on Monday, to the surprise of senior Congress leader’s legal team, the third petition which challenges the trial court order which granted CBI custody till Monday was not listed in the apex court.

On this, senior advocate Kapil Sibal approached the bench headed by Justice R Banumathi to inform her about the no