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Court to pronounce order on Chidambaram's surrender application today

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI New Delhi, India Sep 13, 2019, 10.42 AM (IST)

A special court on Thursday reserved its order on former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's application seeking to surrender to the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case after hearing arguments from both sides.

Justice Ajay Kumar Kuhar will pronounce his order on Friday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), sought the dismissal of the application saying that the enforcement agency does not want Chidambaram's custody because they are "using this time to investigate the matter".

Advocates Amit Mahajan and Nitesh Rana also appeared for the ED along with Mehta.

"As of now, we don't want his custodial remand. We will seek his custody at an appropriate time. Since Chidambaram is already in judicial custody, he cannot tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. We are using this time to its maximum to investigate the matter," Mehta told the court.

He also said that choosing the date of arrest is not a right of the accused.

"We are waiting to see if the "conducive time" occurs immediately at the end of Chidambaram`s judicial custody. So we want dismissal of this application of surrender moved by P Chidambaram as it is not maintainable," Mehta said.

The solicitor general submitted that the "arrest was necessary but ED cannot be directed to arrest him (Chidambaram) on a particular date.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Arshdeep, appearing for Chidambaram, argued that ED official had come to arrest the Congress leader to his residence.

"ED has several times stated that custodial interrogation is needed. So why are they opposing it now," Sibal said.

He said that this is a punitive measure and that they are trying to prolonging it.

"This is mala fide, with the intent to punish Chidambaram and make him suffer. I want the investigation to be over. ED is changing its stand now it is clear that they intend to harass him," Sibal said.

He also added that the accused always has the right to surrender in court.

The Congress leader was arrested by CBI in the INX Media case on Aug 21 and sent to CBI custody for interrogation.

Last week, a CBI court sent Chidambaram to judicial custody in Tihar Jail till September 19.

Chidambaram is facing probe in cases registered by the CBI and the ED pertaining to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when he was the Union Finance Minister.