SC protection to Chidambaram from ED arrest till Wednesday

File photo: IANS

New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended, by one more day, its protection to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in INX Media case.

Extending the protection to the Congress leader, now in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody in the case after his arrest last week, the court observed that the arguments on the matter will continue on Wednesday. 

Hearing the matter on Monday, the court had extended Chidambaram's protection till Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Chidambaram's lawyers, seeking pre-arrest bail for the senior Congress leader, argued that the anti-money laundering act was being implemented retrospectively.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Chidambaram, told the court that the offence allegedly dated back to 2007 but the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions came into effect in 2009. Despite this, the ED had invoked these provisions against Chidambaram, he said.

Singhvi contended that the main provisions of law against Chidambaram became scheduled offences under the PMLA only in 2009, after a year when the alleged FIPB approval was given in 2007-08.

"You are trying to paint a person as kingpin. And it is on the basis of offences that did not exist at that point in time," he submitted.

Arguing about the line of questioning adopted by the investigating agencies, Singhvi said it appeared they were attempting to extract a confession from Chidambaram. 

He also told the court that investigating agencies were painting a wrong picture that Chidambaram was evasive. 

During questioning, the officers expect the person to give the answer they want or continue to face questions till the time they get a favourable answer, Singhvi argued.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, also representing Chidambaram, filed an application for the production of the transcripts of custodial interrogation of Chidambaram, who is in CBI custody.

Chidamabaram on Tuesday filed a rejoinder to the Enforcement Directorate affidavit, which details the list countries where he and "his co-conspirators" allegedly held bank accounts and properties.

Sibal told the top court that he opposes ED's request to submit records in sealed cover in the court, saying that the ED cannot place documents behind his client's back and then seek arrest and interrogation. 

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