The Supreme Court on Friday granted former Union minister P Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till August 26 in the INX Media case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
The bench, comprising Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, also posted to the same day his plea relating to the CBI's probe in connection with the crime.
CBI and ED are investigating his alleged involvement in two cases of corruption and money laundering in the INX Media case.
Chidambaram was arrested from his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday night amid high drama. The next day, the CBI submitted before the special court that his custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth the larger conspiracy in the INX Media case.
The CBI contended that a grave offence was committed and there was reasonable ground for the custody of Chidambaram as he was evasive in his replies. Investigating Agency submitted that he was not cooperating in the probe so five days custodial interrogation was required to get to the bottom of certain questions. It further submitted that the INX Media scam was a serious and monumental case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Counsel for Chidambaram opposed the custodial interrogation, submitting that first arrest in the case was of Bhaskar Raman, Chartered Accountant of Karti, who is currently out on bail, besides Indrani and Peter Mukerjea also arraigned in the case. He further contended that Chidambaram was arrested on Wednesday night night but interrogated only at 1100 hrs yesterday. Defence said grant of bail was a rule and the issue before the court was of personal liberty as Chidambaram never skipped interrogation.
He argued that the FIPB approval is given by six Government Secretaries and none have been arrested in this case. Defence counsel submitted that Chidambaram has never skipped from interrogation and this is a case of documentary evidence so there was not a flight risk.
After hearing the plea on behalf of CBI and Defence Counsel, the judge granted CBI custody of Chidambaram till August 26, Monday.