With Arrest of Ex-Finance Minister, Chidambaram’s Hopes of SC Reprieve Practically Rendered Fruitless
His legal team, spearheaded by senior lawyer and party colleague Kapil Sibal, tried its best to get him a hearing on Wednesday itself, but failed to get the petition listed or obtain interim protection for the senior Congress leader.
Congress leader P Chidambaram arrives to address a press conference at AICC HQ, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
New Delhi: Former Union minister and Rajya Sabha MP P Chidambaram’s petition in the Supreme Court, pleading for protection from arrest, has lost all its meaning and is rendered infructuous for all practical purposes.
His legal team, spearheaded by senior lawyer and party colleague Kapil Sibal, tried its best during the day to get him a hearing on Wednesday itself, but failed to get the petition listed or obtain a protection for the senior Congress leader in the interim. Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday night.
Earlier in the day, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had fixed Friday to list his petition for hearing. However, now that the former finance and home minister has been formally arrested by the CBI, the main prayer of pre-arrest bail does not survive and the petition lacks any substantial relief that can be granted by the Supreme Court.
The matter will still come up for hearing in the top court, but there would be no remedy left and no prayer to be made on behalf of Chidambaram's legal team. As the main prayer of protecting him from arrest does not survive any further, the petition, in its current form, has nothing to secure for the parliamentarian.
All action will now shift to the special court in the Rouse Avenue Complex where the INX Media case is pending. Under law, the CBI is obligated to produce Chidambaram before the trial judge within 24 hours of his arrest. At the time of his production before the trial judge, Chidambaram’s lawyer will have to present the bail plea and convince the judge that this was not a case that warranted arrest of the former Union minister.
On the other hand, the CBI is expected to move its plea for custodial interrogation of Chidambaram and this will also require to be contested by his legal team effectively. The trial judge will need to apply his mind to these two diametrically opposed requests and decide the future course of action.
What is also clear that the CBI is going to raise the issue of Chidambaram avoiding the process of law for almost 24 hours before dramatically surfacing at the All India Congress Committee office in the national capital. It is going to be a sleepless night for a veteran politician and senior advocate. And tomorrow looks equally challenging.
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