Chidambaram goes missing as Delhi HC rejects anticipatory bail plea
21 August 2019
Hours after the Delhi High Court denied anticipatory bail for P Chidambaram in the INX Media case, the former union finance minister has gone hiding, ostensibly to evade possible arrest by the investigating agency, CBI.
Chidambaram's legal team has also asked the CBI not to take any coercive action against the Congress leader and former union minister as his petition is to be heard in the SC today.
The move comes after CBI issued a notice to Chidambaram on Tuesday, asking him to appear before the investigation officer within two hours, after failing to find him at his residence. Chidambaram’s lawyers said the CBI notice also did not mention the specific provision of law under which he was summoned.
Arshdeep Khurana, lawyer of Chidambaram, stated that his client has come to know "through reports" that he has been asked to be present before the investigation officer in the INX media case.
"I am instructed to state that your notice fails to mention the provision of law under which my client has been issued a notice at midnight calling upon him to appear at a short notice of 2 (two) hours. Furthermore, kindly note that my client is exercising the rights available to him in law and had approached the hon'ble Supreme Court on 20.08.2019 seeking urgent reliefs in respect of the order dated 20.08.2019 dismissing his anticipatory bail application no. 1316/2018 in the captioned FIR," Khurana responded.
Further Khuran stated, "On moving the Hon'ble Supreme Court at 04:30 PM on 20.08.2019, he has been permitted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court to mention the urgent Special Leave Petition against the above said order before the Hon'ble Supreme Court at 10.30 AM on 21.08.2019.
"I therefore request you to not take any coercive action against my client till then and await the above mentioned hearing at 10:30 AM on 21.08.2019."
A team of CBI officers had landed at the Chidambaram's posh Jor Bagh residence to locate him, officials said.
The CBI team left the premises after confirming that he was not present at the address, they said.
The team, which had some superintendent of police-rank officials, did not make clear if they had gone to his residence to arrest him for alleged irregularities in foreign investment clearance to INX media during his tenure as union finance minister.
CBI team returned to Chidambaram's residence 115-A Jor Bagh and pasted a notice asking him to appear before R Parthasarthy, CBI Dy SP, probing the case.
Such summons are normally issued under Section 161 of the CrPC.
However, the notice pasted at his residence did not mention the specific provision.
Chidambaram is likely to seek protection from the arrest from the Supreme Court.
The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday refused to grant any protection to Chidambaram from arrest by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
He also failed to get an audience from Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing of his appeal in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.
A team of lawyers led by senior advocate and Chidambaram's party colleague Kapil Sibal was told by the registrar (judicial) to mention the petition on Wednesday morning in the apex court.
The CBI had registered an FIR on 15 May 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.