INX media case: Confusion prevails in Delhi court over Supreme Court order

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Published: September 2, 2019 10:25:16 PM

Confusion prevailed in the Delhi court on Monday over the Supreme Court order on former finance minister P Chidambaram's plea in the INX Media case with CBI and defence lawyers referring to the direction to get a favourable order.

In the trial court, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said that he is filing the interim bail application in view of the earlier order passed by the Supreme Court

Confusion prevailed in the Delhi court on Monday over the Supreme Court order on former finance minister P Chidambaram’s plea in the INX Media case with CBI and defence lawyers referring to the direction to get a favourable order. When the proceedings began at 4:20 pm, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, told judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that some developments have taken place in the apex court direction which was passed earlier in the day. He told the court that he was not present in the hearing which took place in the morning as he was attending a prayer meet of late Union minister Arun Jaitley.

Mehta informed the court that after an initial order was passed by the top court, he mentioned the case again before the apex court at 3 pm and said that the order passed earlier in the day would cause jurisdictional difficulty in its implementation and requested the matter to be kept for tomorrow. The top court had initially asked the trial court to consider Chidambaram’s request for interim bail in the INX Media corruption case after Chidambaram said that he not be sent to Tihar jail under judicial custody and offered to be in house arrest. The apex court said if Chidambaram’s request for interim bail was not considered by the trial court on Monday itself, his CBI custody would be extended by three more days. In the trial court, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, said that he is filing the interim bail application in view of the earlier order passed by the Supreme Court.

Mehta objected to this saying that the agency should be issued notice first and given time to reply. He said he mentioned the matter in the top court which has posted the matter for hearing tomorrow. To this, Sibal said: “I was here” (when you mentioned the matter again).” “Unfortunately we don’t have copy of the orders, Mehta said. Sibal then said: “When I was there, an order was passed by the Supreme Court to the CBI Court to consider the interim bail plea”. Mehta said he was not present in the apex court and Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj was present at that time. At this juncture, the judge sought a clarification from the counsel for both sides if he should consider the bail plea today itself as per the Supreme Court’s order.

Mehta pressed for deferring hearing on bail plea and argued that the investigating agencies wanted to submit a detailed reply and therefore 10 days time should be given. Sibal tried to explain that the context in which the first order by the top court was passed. “I said that if I (Chidambaram) am sent to judicial custody, my plea challenging remand orders would become infructuous and apex court allowed me to move an interim bail and asked this court to decide,” Sibal said.

Mehta contended that in any case, CBI was not precluded from seeking Chidambaram’s further custody for interrogation. Sibal said,”the court may consider the bail application one way or the other.. I will argue,”. He said the apex court has not passed an order that Chidambaram should be sent to one day custody. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for Chidamabarm, said,”according to us, the Supreme Court said decide (the interim bail) today, or extend remand till September 5.” When the court failed to comprehend, it asked the IO to explain the apex court order who informed the court that the Supreme Court has directed that in case interim bail is not granted then police custody be extended. When the court was about to dictate its order, the reader of the court informed at about 5:25 pm that the order of the top court has been uploaded on the website which was shared with both the parties.

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