New Delhi, Oct 14 : A Delhi court on Monday reserved its order on the application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking permission to arrest former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the money laundering case relating to INX Media.
During the course of the hearing, Chidambaram’s legal team led by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal opposed the application moved by the prosecution.
“The ED can’t arrest him anymore because the crime is one and can’t be taken as two. It’s two sides of the same coin,” Sibal said.
“As long as the transaction is same and the offences are diffrent, the prosecution cannot seek remand more than 15 days,” he added.
Sibal further contended that Section 267 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) cannot be used as a sheet anchor by the agency to arrest his client.
“When there are no proceedings here, how can P. Chidambaram be called for arrest. There can be no remand, and secondly, he cannot be produced before the court in this fashion. It is the same transaction. Even the High Court rules prohibit the calling of accused in such fashion,” the senior advocate told the court.
Opposing the submissions of Sibal, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended: “My learned friend was citing the order of this Court passed when his client was willing to surrender before the court. Though nothing is pending before the court in the ED case, he is still in custody of the court and hence only because of this we are seeking permission to arrest under section 19 PMLA and this power is completely distinct from that in CrPC.”
“I am seeking permission to arrest him and resting the court to supply them with the arrest memo. Without your lordships we can’t arrest him. When the test of the law is clear, then there is no need to cite Judgments,” he added.
Rebutting the submissions of the Solicitor General, Sibal said: “The acts may be diffrent but you don’t seek diffrent remand for diffrent acts.”
“They have only brought him to arrest him which is not permitted in hhe law,” he said Sibal, citing the judgement in the Harshad Mehta case.
After hearing the arguments of both sides, Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said that he would pronounce his order on Tuesday.
The ED on Friday approached the court seeking custody of Chidambaram in the INX media case. He is currently in judicial custody in the INX media case filed by the Central Buruau of Investigation (CBI).
The Solicitor General argued that Chidambaram needs to be taken in for custodial interrogation to obtain information on shell companies in foreign countries and 17 bank accounts.
He pointed out that even the Supreme Court had observed that custodial interrogation is required in this case. Following this, the court had issued a production warrant against the former Finance Minister.
Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram were named in the INX Media case by Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in Mumbai in connection with the murder of Indrani’s daughter Sheena Bora.
The ED too has filed a money laundering case against Chidambaram.