New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate on a plea seeking bail filed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media case.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, issued a notice to ED on Chidambaram’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court verdict dismissing his bail plea in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, submitted the response on the plea will be filed by November 25. The court will hear the matter on November 26.
A single-judge Bench of the High Court, presided by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, in its November 15 verdict turning down the plea for relief and observed that the allegations against the veteran politician were “serious” in nature and that the case was not fit for granting bail.
The ED, probing the money laundering case, had arrested Chidambaram last month. He is under judicial custody in Tihar Jail. Opposing the bail plea, the agency asserted that Chidambaram used the high office of the country “for his personal gains.”
In the bail plea, Chidambaram cited old age and his fragile health conditions. “He is under treatment and medication for several years for ailments, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and Vitamin D deficiency. While in the judicial custody, he had suffered two bouts of illness and was put on antibiotics for five and seven days”, said the plea.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before newly appointed Chief Justice S.A. Bobde. The plea contended that during the custody, he had suffered acute and persistent abdomen pain and had to be taken to AIIMS and RML Hospital for consultation, diagnosis and tests on various occasions.
He is currently on steroids, and has lost 5 kg. After more than two years of investigation and custodial interrogation of the Congress leader, the ED had failed to identify even a single shell company owned or controlled by him or any “undisclosed foreign bank account” or any ‘benami property’ in his name, it said.
“Not one document has been connected to him. Not one property or bank account has been connected to him. He has not been confronted with any witness. No one has said a word against him. There is no payment to him. Thus, if anyone deserves immediate bail, it is the petitioner,” said the plea.