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Supreme Court refuses urgent listing of P Chidambaram's plea for protection from arrest

File photo of P Chidambaram. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Aug 21, 2019, 03.29 PM (IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to list former finance minister P Chidambaram's petition for protection from arrest. Justice NV Ramana said that petition had defects, which were removed only now, because of which it could not be listed for hearing today. 

Earlier, a bench headed by senior-most judge Justice NV Ramana referred Chidambaram's plea to Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.

CJI Gogoi, however, had commenced hearing in the Ayodhya dispute case due to which Chidambaram's counsel Kapil Sibal was unable to mention the matter before him for urgent hearing. After lunch, Sibal again mentioned the matter before Justice Ramana saying it had not been listed yet.

"We cannot hear the matter until its listing is not done," Ramana told senior advocate Kapil Sibal after his repeated requests to list the case. 

"A lookout notice has been issued against him. He is not the man to run away. Our person is not running away. We can also give an undertaking for it," he said.

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Sibal said that the CJI will rise only at 4 pm which means the matter will not be heard today. Justice Ramana said that these things are usually done by the evening.

"We have done all that we could do. You have to wait."

Earlier in the day, CBI and ED filed caveats in the Supreme Court over Chidambaram's plea seeking protection from arrest in the INX media case.

With the caveat being filed, the apex court cannot pass any order on the former finance minister's plea without hearing the probe agencies.

Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal is representing P Chidambaram who suffered a setback on Tuesday after Delhi High Court dismissed both his anticipatory bail pleas in connection with INX Media case. 

Chidambaram is now vulnerable to an arrest and has been missing ever since a team of Enforcement Directorate and the CBI arrived at his Jor Bagh residence on Tuesday evening. A lookout notice against Chidambaram has been issued. 

Watch: Delhi High Court denies anticipatory bail to Chidambaram

 The CBI is investigating Chidambaram in the INX Media case, which it had registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the FIPB clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as finance minister.

The ED is probing the money laundering case which it lodged in 2018.

The Delhi High Court said facts prima facie reveal that Chidambaram is the kingpin, the key conspirator, in the case. The high court observed that the magnitude and enormity of material brought forth by investigating agencies clearly does not entitle him any pre-arrest bail.

The Congress has described the government`s action against its leader as political vendetta and accused it of maintaining double standard over the issue of corruption.

(With inputs from ANI)