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Have Proof of Money Laundering, ED Tells SC as Chidambaram's Protection from Arrest Extended

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna heard arguments advanced by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who said that Chidambaram was trying to play the "victim card" and prevent the ED from exercising its right to arrest him in the case.

News18.com

Updated:August 28, 2019, 4:42 PM IST
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Have Proof of Money Laundering, ED Tells SC as Chidambaram's Protection from Arrest Extended
File photo of former finance minister P Chidambaram.
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended till tomorrow the interim protection from arrest granted to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna heard arguments advanced by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who said that Chidambaram was trying to play the "victim card" and prevent the ED from exercising its right to arrest him in the case.

"This is not a witch hunt as alleged by them. We have material to show that it is a serious case of money laundering. We have collected cogent materials in the case," Mehta told the bench, which would continue hearing arguments in the case on Thursday.

The court is hearing a plea filed by Chidambaram who has challenged the August 20 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him anticipatory bail in the INX Media corruption and money laundering cases lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED.

"A ghost is sought to be created by playing the victim card," Mehta said while opposing grant of anticipatory bail to Chidambaram.

Presenting its arguments, the probe agency said it has “direct evidence to show how money was laundered” and that it is ready to give evidence to show that laundering is still on, Mehta said.

The ED urged the Supreme Court to not intervene at this stage. The authority to arrest cannot be curtailed, argued the agency, and said that Chidambaram’s arrest “isn't for humiliation but for prevention”.

The ED will continue its submissions from 11.30 am on Thursday.

The apex court had on Monday extended till Tuesday the protection from arrest given to Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED. Chidambaram was the Union minister for finance as also home during the UPA-I and UPA-II government from 2004 to 2014.

Chidambaram's family has alleged that the government's motive was to "demonise and humiliate" him.

"We challenge the government to produce a shred of evidence in support of one undisclosed bank account, one undisclosed property or one shell company anywhere in the world," his son Karti Chidambaram had said in a statement on Monday. Karti Chidambaram is also an accused in the INX Media case and is out on bail.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.

Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case against him in 2017.

(With inputs from PTI)

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| Edited by: Moonmoon Ghosh
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