New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the interim protection granted to Karti Chidambaram by the Delhi high court from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the INX Media case until 26 March.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi high court had extended his protection by two days until 22 March.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also transferred to itself a money laundering case pending before the Delhi high court, where Karti has challenged the issue of summons by the ED.

The court said it would interpret provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, relating to the extent of the ED’s powers to make arrests and seize property on the next date.

“There is some kind of confusion regarding ED’s powers of arrest under the law. Various high courts have taken different views on this," Misra said.

The ED had moved the Supreme Court on 13 March, challenging the Delhi high court order giving interim relief to Karti Chidambaram against being arrested.

On 9 March, a Delhi high court bench comprising justices S. Muralidhar and Indermeet Mehta had granted protection to Karti from arrest by the ED until 20 March. The court, however, made it clear that in case the special CBI court granted Karti bail in the corruption case against him, the ED would not arrest him till the next hearing.

Karti was sent to judicial custody till 24 March by a special CBI court in the INX Media corruption case, after his plea for early hearing of his bail application was dismissed.

His custody, initially extended by five days on 1 March, was again extended by three days to 9 March.

He is accused of having received Rs10 lakh in kickbacks in 2007 to clear foreign investment worth Rs305 crore for INX Media, which was owned by Peter and Indrani Mukherjea, at a time when his father P. Chidambaram was finance minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.

The case will be heard next on 26 March.

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