The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to former Union finance minister P Chidambaram till August 26 in connection with the INX Media case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said it will hear on August 26 the appeal filed by Chidambaram against the Delhi High Court's order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea in the INX Media cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, Justice Banumathi said, "In the ED matter. Chidambaram has not been arrested."
During the proceedings, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the former Union minister, submitted, "Chidambaram's fundamental right of access to justice has been frustrated by the way in which the plea against the Delhi High Court verdict was not heard despite moving the Supreme Court on time."
Sibal said, "After the arguments were over, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had given a note to Justice Sunil Gaur, who was the high court judge. We were not given a chance to reply to that."
To this, Mehta said, "Do not make false statements. I did not give it after the arguments were over."
Sibal claimed, "The high court judgment is a verbatim copy of what is in the note. Comma for comma, full stop for full stop. Everything is a copy, so the note becomes the basis of denying bail to Chidambaram,.'
Mehta contended, "There are evidences in the form of digital documents, email exchanges. Corruption money has travelled through money laundering. He (Chidambaram) has at least 10 properties and 17 bank accounts abroad. That is what we have found out so far."
After the order was passed, Mehta wanted to give some ED documents to the court but Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also appeared for Chidambaram, objected, saying this had previously happened in the high court.
The apex court did not allow Mehta to submit the documents, saying everything will be taken up on Monday.
The high court had on August 20 dismissed Chidambaram's plea for anticipatory bail following which the CBI and the ED issued Look Out Notices against him. The CBI took him into custody the next day.
A special anti-corruption court on Thursday sent the Congress leader to CBI custody till August 26.
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.
( With inputs from ANI )