The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended till 28 August the interim protection against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) granted to Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram on 23 August in the INX Media money laundering case.
An apex court bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi and comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna began hearing the arguments made by Chidambaram through senior counsels Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi at noon.
Chidambaram’s lawyers filed two applications before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. One application sought directions from the apex court to seek transcripts of the questioning done by the ED on 19 December and 1 and 21 January for this case. The second application challenges the 25 August order of the CBI court for the extension of remand.
Singhvi contended before the division bench that the questions put forth to Chidambaram were repetitive. He also argued that just because Chidambaram was not telling the ED what it wanted to hear does not make him evasive. Chidambaram had been present and answered questions whenever he was summoned for questioning during the investigation by the ED.
Singhvi pressed for the questions and answers to be told to the court to determine whether Chidambaram was actually evasive or is being simply accused of evasiveness.
“I have answered all the questions put to me. But the only question they are asking is, ‘Do you have an overseas bank account?’ and so forth," Singhvi said on behalf of Chidambaram. It is for this reason the application for transcript of the interrogation has been filed and is a necessity in this case to prove that Chidambaram was not evasive.
Citing the three tests for denying bail - 1) Non cooperation 2) Tampering of evidence 3) Risk of fleeing, Singhvi argued that none of them were present in this case hence bail should not be denied.
Singhvi also argued that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was amended in 2009 whereas the allegations in the case are of 2007-2008.
Also read: Meet the investigating officer who scaled a wall to nab Chidambaram